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THE LIBRARY OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 




ENDOWED BY THE 

DIALECTIC AND PHILANTHROPIC 

SOCIETIES 



PSI586 
.E53 

C.2 



UNIVERSITY OF N.C. AT CHAPEL HILL 



00008832221 



NEW ENGLAND'S CHATTELS: 



OR, 



life in tijc flortljcnt |1ooi'-|)OHSt. 



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Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 



http://www.archive.org/details/newenglandschattOOelli 




" Antii"|ne, hut not attractive." — paoe 2fi. 



NEW ENGLAND'S CHATTELS: 





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Pauper: A poor person; particularly one so indigent as to depend on the 
parish or town for maintenance." — Webster. 



^ e tD " 8 r k ; 
H. DAYTON, lOT NASSAU STREET; 

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. : DAYTON & ASHEB. 
1858. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1858, by 

n. DAYTON, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern 

District of New York. 



j. J. Reed, Printer & SxEREOTypBR, 
43 & 45 Centre Street. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 
The Story begins with Relics, where many a one ends, - - - » 13 

CHAPTER II. 

In preparing Statistics of the Population, and tables on Political Economy, we 
should pay especial attention to what appears on the Surface. As there may 
have been other persons alive in our places, now below the surface, so there may 
once have been other mansions where now are found but such as these, - 26 

CHAPTER III. 
Gentlemen who sell their Cattle, Sheep, and Hogs by Auction, so contrive it that 
the highest bidder gets them : so they realize. When a lot of Paupers is dis- 
posed of at Auction, the town so contrives it that the lowest bidder gets them : 
so the town realizes, ----------33 

CHAPTER IV. 
Captain Isaac Bunco, Mrs. Bunce, all the Bunces, more especially the Captain, 
who has a moral and religious standard. His merciful convictions have a tri- 
umphal ascendency over his daily overt practice, and rule him uncommonly 
well disposed, ..-----..--38 

CHAPTER V. 
Joe Harnden and his visitors. When visits and calls are made they should bo 
civil and short. Do not bore a friend to death by the length of your civility, but 
cut it short off before he shall even begin to wish you hadn't called at all, 49 

CHAPTER VI. 

"We've fifteen poor folks, lacking the last death — Joe Harnden." — Squire Ben. 
Stout's Remark. It is well to keep the Population intact, to know exactly what 
to say when the Government gets in readiness for the National Census. A cor- 
rect Census is the glory of an Administration, ... _ - 56 

CHAPTER VIi. 
The Haddocks, - 70 



VI CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER VIII.' 



Beep for the Pauper?. " He that considereth the poor, lendeth to the Lord." 
The immense deposits of virtuous credits laid up by a great many stocli-towns in 
New England, of and for their regard for the Poor, it will take a good while in 
the next world to estimate, ---------77 

CHAPTER IX. 

Northern fear of the Poor-House. The Peppers. Very poor people, and people 
not the poorest, often and generally envy the rich. It was an early development 
in society that riches carried great weight, so all the poor people have been mad 
after them. Here we show you what a pleasant thing it is to be rich, - 92 

CHAPTER X. 

DtTY leads in the way of securing and laying in Provisions. Jims vs. Dan, and 
Dan vs. Jims. -.-.-...--- 103 

CHAPTER XL 

Mag Davis. — Were it not for beautiful Woman in this world, we should not have 
half the respect for ourselves that we now exercise, nor would Society so rise to 
the dignity of an Institution. As it is, we highly congratulate ourselves, and as 
to Woman are strictly conservative, - - - - - - -113 

CHAPTER XII. 

The Ladies' Benevolent Society. Miss E. Flush, President, - - - 128 

CHAPTER XIIL 

Fire. Water is the natural element with which to oppose fire. The circumstances 
must be quite unfavorable, therefore, when it remains unextinguished even in 
the presence of this agent, --------- 145 

CHAPTER XIV, 

The Little Incendiary. Be very careful how you stand up for an Incendiary. 
The Partaker is as bad as the Thief, you know, ----- 154 

CHAPTER XV. 
Alanson, -_---------- 171 

CHAPTER XVI. 
Jims at the Manse, ...--- "T" ^^^ 



CONTENTS. VU 



CHAPTER XVII. 



The Tuckers. Very remarkable character like that of a Johnson, a Pitt, a More, 
a Bonaparte, or a Washington, but occasionally gleams on the path of human 
life. It becomes our duty, consequently, to ponder well every such appearance, 
and endeavor to estimate the chances in favor of any one age or country reaping 
the honor of it ; for grpat, indeed, is that honor, ----- 195 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

Crape for Aunt Dorothy. Crape is a great institution. It belongs to the Genus 
Sackcloth, and so hails from Job, and other far off Personages. Government 
goes for crape. An Administration that wouldn't vote "thirty days" crape 
would be put down ; Jobbers and Consumers would rouse the nation, and Old Mo- 
nopoly get awfully crushed between them. You never see a Dignitary, a Dogma- 
tist, a Delectable, a sensible Bachelor, or a sincere Widower who marries the second 

■ and third time aerly for the sake of his children, despising crape ! - - 205 



CHAPTER XIX. 

Sermon to the Paupers. Was it or was it not a Gospel Endeavor ? There is a 
great itching now-a-days to preach Homiletics and Philosophic Yams, and some 
preach like Yellow Dandelions and Buttercups ! The Gospel's the Gospel for a' 
that, and happy soul is he who preaches it, - - - - - -212 



CHAPTER XX. 

Northern Human Chattels. Where is Aunt Dodge 7 - - - - 219 

CHAPTER XXI. 

Paupers not their own masters or law-makers ; which appears very like a state 
of Involimtariness — were it not in New England ! . _ - - 232 

CHAPTER XXII. 

Has Mr. Warren lost that box ? He may fancy so. He may even search in 
vain for it. He may give the case into the hands of the Police, who are sure to 
find stolen property. But after all, is the box lost ? - - • 237 

CHAPTER XXIII. 
Hag! 243 



Vlll CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 



What happened to the Cabin. Remarks upon Cabins are useless, for they fulfill 
their day, never behind, never ahead of it. They are a standing Prophecy of 
Shelter and Refuge to Society. They show us, that if we cannot live in a Palace, 
we can in a Hut. Ho, the Cabin ! . 257 

CHAPTER XXV. 
Polly in the Ruins, 262 

CHAPTER XXVI. 
What's to be done 1 .--. 268 

CHAPTER XXVII. 

Captain Bunce settles a score with Jims, and Jims with bastardy and pauperism. 
Remarkable geniality discoverable in unpropitious circumstances, which is proof 
that Society is homogenous and vital. Flaws are Exceptions to the Rule. The 
Rule remains, 274 

CHAPTER XXVIII. 

" We should of course miss a Pauper, Mr. Savage, of course !" It is quite a Mathe- 
matical certainty that two and two are four ; and that if one be taken from four, 
there are left but three. Now, as Pure Mathematics is a dead certainty, we 
have no difficulty with it until wo yoke to it our Moral Certainties. Then wo 
may say, " Of course. Mr. Savage !" But there's a lingering doubt — an absence 
of Demonstration, after all, --------- 290 

CHAPTER XXIX. 

Mrs. Armstuong's great apprehension. Poverty is very ugly to look straight 
at! 300 

CHAPTER XXX. 

The Missionary's Letter. We have known one Missionary who complained that 
he couldn't be thankful enough, and another who complained that he was too 
thankful. So we fancy that somewhere near the middle of the beam lies the true 
emotion, .-...------. 307 

CHAPTER XXXI. 

Abraham Bacon and Mrs. Bacon, Mr. and Mrs. Siddleton— actors all, in the grand 
Pauper Drama, representing Shrewdness, Profit, Speculation, Genius, Morality 
and Religion, 315 



CONTENTS. IX 

CHAPTER XXXII. 

The Paupers at Auction. To many a one there is a charm in the very sound of 
the word " Auction." And so at auction decent people often buy those goods 
they neither need nor really desire. But they find a comfort in having bought 
them " low — at auction .'" Much good may they do them. Rag, Tag and Bob- 
tail, are often bolted off with Good, Better, Best, at the Sales: so one bids off 
the former for the sake of the latter. "When one takes lot All of the Town's 
Chattels, he of course takes the good and the bad. Contrary to the usual notion, 
however, the good paupers in such a trade are, the weak-ready-to-die-off class ; 
the bad, the healthy, strong, good-livers 1 Kind Providence! save Thou us and 
ours from this block, ---------- 326 

CHAPTER XXXIII. 

The Ministers get hold of it. Let us see what they think, . - - 339 

CHAPTER XXXIV. 

100,000 Brick. Paupers at twenty cents a day for the lot— i. e., " one forty" per 
week : a considerable amount of money, all things taken into the account, 356 

CHAPTER XXXV. 

Mr. Siddleton's idea of the Gospel. Somehow or other our ideas are not always 
the same, nor are they always just. But if we happen tohit on right notions, by all 
means let them out. They may do somebody good, - - - - 368 

CHAPTER XXXVI. 

The European Tour.— Blind Henrietta, a Teacher of Good Things, - - 380 

CHAPTER XXXVII. 
Christian Benevolence. Dan, -------- 389 

CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

Miss E. Flush argues for the Sacred Scriptures vs. the Righteous Poor. It is well 
to let the Scriptures interpret themselves on some questions ; when we interpret 
them, it is very often to favor our cause. But if you are in want of a good, saga- 
cious interpreter of Holy Writ, send for Emeline Flush, - - - 400 

CHAPTER XXXIX. 
Grandfather Sherman, --. 4l4 

CHAPTER XL. 
A Northern Doughface ; ! - - - - - - -426 



X CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XLI. 

Miss Flush pays a visit to the Poor- House. She forms a high estimate of the per- 
sonal charms and character of Miss Margaret Davis, and appears in what may be 
called a new character herself. So thinks at least Lawyer Tools, whose profes- 
sional business leads him closely to scrutinize individual members of society in 
what changes soever they may appear, --_... 434 

CHAPTER XLII. 

Search for Property. Writers on Political Economy represent Labor as the only 
source of wealth, for by ' labor all the wealth of the world,' as says Mr. Adam Smith, 
' was originally purchased.' It is labor that gives value to all commodities and pro- 
ducts. At the same time, what miserable creatures we should all prove to be, 
were it not for Capital. We have it then, ' Searching' implies Labor, and 
'for property,' Capital. We hope James searched a good while before h« 
finally abandoned it, ---------- 448 

CHAPTER XLIII. 

James in the Town-meeting. Very humorsome times they frequently have in 
Town-meetings, there being generally present all the great men and all tho 
small men of the place, not a few of whom offer their sentiments oratorically to 
their fellow-citizens, and the great men bow very low to the small men, and tho 
small men shake their heads, look wise, and can't say precisely 2z;/io they shall 
vote for. ------------ 454 

CHAPTER XLIV. 

The new Town Farm. Dreams take a high rank. Mercy mingles in the cup of 
Poverty. Reunion of old Ideas, nothing inconsistent with modern improvements 
and innovations, ----------- 464 

APPENDIX, 475 



PREFACE. 



I HAVE here written a few things concerning the 
paupers of New England, the land of civilization 
and religion, but not a THOUSANDTH part of those 
TRUE stories that may yet be told of them, their 
sufferings, their neglect, their vice, nor have I told 
the loorst — judge ye ! 

I have not dealt in personalities. My actors, such as 
Squire. Stout, Mr. Haddock, Captain Bunce, etc., repre- 
sent character merely. Nor have I given in caricature 
a real locality to the scenes. Unhappily these lie broad- 
cast all over New England. 

THE AUTHOR. 



NEW ENGLAND'S CHATTELS; 

OB, 

LIFE m THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 



CHAPTER I. 

The Story begins with Relics, where many a one ends. 

Among the ragged and miserable creatures in the 
Crampton poor-house, some of them old and others 
young, put in and there kept by the town authorities, 
was a widow of seventy years, a pious old soul, whose 
name was Charity Prescott. They called her sometimes 
Mrs. Prescott, or Miss Prescott, the widow Prescott, and* 
the pious old Mrs., Miss, or the widow Prescott. She 
was poor, but good. Almost everybody loved her, and 
there were a good many individual Christians and moral 
people in Crampton who had much preferred she had 
not gone to the poor-house for her sujDport. However, 
there she went, and Captain Bunce, the proprietor, held 
her in some sort of regard. He told Mrs. Bunce that 
she was probably honest, and well meaning, though 
broken down in mind, and very simple and childish, and 
he should grant her " every indulgence." 

" Don't be too generous now, Captain Bunce," said his 
wife, " for you know these are hard times, and we may 
work ourselves to death for the creatures, without the 
first red cent or thank'e ma'am from the town, or any 



14 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

soul in it. And as for the lazy, idle coots themselves, 
the more you do for them, the more you may do ; don't 
you know it, Captain Bunce ?" 

Captain Bunce knew all about it, he said, as well as 
she did ; knew the whole thing by heart — kneW it per- 
fectly — but his mind was made up about the widow 
Prescott, that she should have " every possible indul- 
gence." 

Now to hear this honeyed phraseology as it dropped 
from the mouth of the Captain, one would be sure that 
Mrs. Prescott would be well taken care of at all events ; 
that she could not feel the want of any thing that lay in 
Captain Bunco's power to provide for her ; that he 
would not hesitate the fractional part of a minute to do 
her any service. One would suppose that " every," as 
he used it, covered a great field of indulgences — a very 
great many comforts represented — almost too many. 

Mrs. Prescott tvas indulged with a single room. Once 
there had been a large closet to the bed-room on the 
north side of the kitchen, under the kitchen stairs. This 
had now been enlarged by building on a small wing — so 
called — about four feet being added, and this enlarge- 
ment — nay, the whole affair, closet and appendage — was 
assigned to Mrs. Prescott as her room. It had a door 
that might be fastened ; a little window, a narrow, old 
cot-bed, a piece of a looking-glass, a comb, and a paper 
curtain. It was a room, some eight by nine feet, quite 
a commodious little affair. Here in an old ruined bowl 
she cultivated a geranium. No vicissitudes of her for- 
tunes had robbed her of her Bible. This apartment, 
with its furniture, and two chairs also, one of them 
smuggled in by blind Hetty, was, to Mrs. Prescott, one 
of the Captain's indulgences. 

Was she not, reader, a well cared for human being ? 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERX POOR-HOUSE. 15 

Consider that she had outlived two or three generations ; 
that her usefulness was gone ; that she was hardly known 
on the church records as a living member ; that she was 
very poor, very dependent — say, was not the pious old 
widow Prescott well taken care of? The town taxed 
itself to support her at five cents a day, and sold her 
every year at auction, or " contracted," as we say at the 
North, for her support on these conditions, if others bet- 
ter failed. And here she is, in a ripe old age, cared for 
in this nice little jewel of a way, i. e., room. Could any 
thing be more appropriate ? Was she not a happy, 
heaven-ripening saint under these peculiar indulgences 
and privileges ? At any rate, here she is. So we go on 
and say that here the good old widow passed her days 
and nights whenever she wished to retire from the com- 
mon sittings of her companions. Here she put on and 
off her spectacles, read her Bible, and prayed. Here 
she meditated on the ways of Providence. Here she 
occupied herself in the trifling sewings, knittings and 
darnings. Here she not unfrequently had a visitor of 
the " House," as they called their own quarters, and gave 
good counsel to the desponding and reproof to the way- 
ward and vicious. And it was not a rare thing for some- 
body from, the " Captain's" to run in and chat with her, 
especially for " blind Hetty," who, in the summer, would 
stand for an hour at the open window, asking questions 
and telling stories, and hearing good things and many 
Bible truths, and comforts for a poor young blind crea- 
ture such as she. Nor were they lost upon her. No, no. 
On the blind Hetty ? No. 

This aged, poverty-stricken widow, had seen a fair 
supply of misfortune, as we call it, in her life. She was 
early married to Mr. Samuel Prescott — afterwards, Dea- 
con Samuel Prescott. She became the mother of eight 



16 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

children, most of whom died before they were twenty 
years of age, although her eldest son and one of the 
daughters lived to get married and settle down in com- 
fortable homes near the paternal dwelling. But tho 
daughter died when her second child was born, which in 
a fortnight followed her, and the husband becoming in- 
temperate died on the eve of another marriage with a 
dissolute woman. Their first child lived with his grand 
parents till he was ten years of age, when a cold which 
he had taken threw him into a fever and soon ended his 
days. So the family branch in that direction failed. — 
The married son had no children, and both husband and 
wife fell victims to a malignant fever in the neighbor- 
hood during the tenth year of their married life. 

Deacon Prescott and his wife were nearly the whole 
time of their married life in mourning. Is it not strange ! 
A married pair always clad, however green and fair the 
world, sunny and joyous and gay, themselves always, 
always in mourning ! Their little property by degrees 
failed them in consequence of their repeated trials, and 
the deacon himself was stricken with paralysis, and lay 
five years helplessly on his couch. He was not a man 
of much worldly thrift, though a Christian man of great 
experience and readiness in divine things. When at 
last he gave up life, his property was about gone, and 
his wife left childless, feeble, poor, dependent — after 
several years of effort to support herself aided by the 
charities of the church, and of her friends, cast herself 
on the town. And here, in the poor-house is Mrs. Pres- 
cott, as comfortable as the poor-house customs will 
allow. 

She is a little childish or simple, it is true — not pre- 
cisely what she once was, although she has got through 
a great sum of earthly trouble with much fortitude, and 



LIFE IN THE NOETHEEN POOR-HOUSE. 17 

with as much strength of mind as might be expected, 
left to one in her circumstances. But whatever weak- 
ness of mind she may occasionally exhibit, her recollec- 
tions of Scripture are ever fresh, and on religious mat- 
ters her conversation is remarkably clear and happy. 
There's a good deal in old mother Prescott after all. 
She'll cost the town something yet, even at five cents a 
day. 

The cool mornings and evenings of late October days 
have come, the trees drop off their autumn-dyed leaves, 
heavy frosts often crisp the grass, the sheep and fowls 
begin to seek the warm side of the old buildings where 
the morning brings n-p the rays of the sun. And one of 
these mornings, directly after breakfast, at the poor- 
house, a breakfast of gruel, potatoes, and poor bread and 
molasses, served on the old pine table, served with iron 
spoons, broken knives and forks, on blue-edged and 
glazed-cracked plates, Mrs. Prescott, in one of her last 
white cambric caps, with that old-fashioned, motherly, 
wide, starchless, flapping border, in dark woolen skirt, 
and apron with long strings — a neat " fix on " even for 
herself and her " indulgences," is in her little room, put- 
ting it to rights, and then brushing back the gray locks 
that hang out here and there a fluttering signal of old 
age, when in comes aunt Dorothy Brinsmade. This old 
woman, say of sixty-five, appears as usual in a very tat- 
tered, ragged rig, carelessly hitched together, and un- 
equally equipoised on her curving frame, shufiling along 
in old shoes she comes, smoking at a broken pipe, with 
heavy clouds of strong smoke curling in her wake, and , 
her advance noted by the odd and even tune of her old 
crooked staff and crutch on the floor. She comes in 
humming some strange thing between a march and a 
psalm tune, as aunt Dorothy is now rather weak-headed 



18 NEW England's chattel's ; or, 

• — having got on the slippery side of her life's hill. 
Twenty years of her time have been penitentiary years, 
a long flight of years truly ; some of them, we would 
say, passed in poor-houses. She has had, at times, a 
reputation by no means the best, including in the cate- 
gory, the matters of lying, pilfering and wantonness, 
although it was always hard to " spot" her in the very 
matters that this gossip was built on, and at all events, 
since aunt Dorothy came, eight or ten years ago, to the 
stajff and the crutch, light fingering and frolicsomeness 
have been of her rather matters of the historic past, than 
of actual present recurrence. She is rather a good soul 
among the poor ones of the poor-house, and bears up 
tolerably well under her day of trial. She is a native of 
the town, and was once married, but marriage and she 
had little to say of one another. 

" And how does Mrs. Prescott do this morning ?" said 
she, "ai? 

" Drum, drum, drum ; dro, de-dro, de-dri, dri dri ; 
The mountains melt, the seas retire. 

" Pretty well, Mrs. Prescott ? 

" Bubadnb — rubadub, rubadub, dub, dub ; 
The seas retire ." 

" I'm tolerable for an old woman, aunt Dorothy, thank 

ye." 

" Wal now — drum, drum — that's about all a body can 
'spect of life now days. I'm tolerable too — thanks to a 
good constitution from Providence, and a merry sort of 
spirits — 

" Drum de drum ; drum de drum, drum dro ; 

Once I thought my mountain strong — mountain strong, 
Drum, drum ." 

" Never mind, aunt Dorothy," interrupted the widow, 



LIFE IN THE NOETHEKN POOR-HOUSE. 19 

well knowing her visitor's wandering, loquacious tongue, 
and endless songs — so hoping to put her on a new track, 
" How old do you think I am to-day V she asked. 

" How old ! — drum, drum, drum — I reckon you are 
nigh on t' eighty, p'raps eighty-five or ninety — at any 
rate, considerable up in life and growing older mighty 
fast, .ai ?" 

" Why, aunt Dorothy ! you don't now — why I am only 
seventy-four, that's not so very old, specially on Bible 
grounds. You know the Bible tells us of persons 
livino- • " 



" Three score and ten — dum de dum — ," interrupted 
aunt Dorothy. 

" Yes, I know ; and four-score — but they used to live 
several hundreds, and now-a-days persons often live 
ninety and a hundred years." 

" Not very often. — drum di'u " 

" Once, aunt Dorothy, people lived to be eight hun- 
dred years old. There was Adam, the first man, who 
lived even till he was nine hundred and thirty years 
old ; and Methuselah, you know, was nine hundred and 
sixty-nine years old. And there was Noah " 

" Pshaw, pshaw, widow Prescott ! Them's old folks 
that's been dead and gone morne a thousand years, when 
there warn't any poor-houses, and everybody was rich, 
and all the women rode in coaches, in silk dresses, and 
never knew when they got old. But I say — drum, drum, 
drum — nobody now-a-days sees such times ; nor nobody 
wants to — do you. Miss Prescott ? They were a great 
long time ago ; folks now-a-days get old when they are 
fifty or sixty — drum de drum, drum, drum — ^who cares 
for Adam ?" 

" But, aunt Dorothy, the Bible's the Bible for all that, 
and you know we must believe it." 



20 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" Sartin ! I've been a firm believer of it all my born 
days." 

" It ain't of no consequence, aunt Dorothy, whether we 
are old or young, if we have a good firm faith in the 
Bible, and a good hope, for then we are ready to die 
any time, you know 1" 

" Sartin ! I know it, and that's what I tell them all — 
drum, drum, dro." 

" You see, aunt Dorothy, ain't your pipe going out ?" 

" I believe so. (Pyff, i^'{^> JP^^ff-) Now it smokes 
again." 

" "Well, as I was going to say, we're in rather straiten- 
ed circumstances here — but it might be worse ; now we 
want the Bible to comfort and support us." 

" Yes." (Puff, puff, puff.) " Is this pipe out or not ?" 
(Puff pi[ff, puff). 

" I don't let a day go by without drawing comfort 
from it." 

" It's a great comfort to you." (Piff, p^ff, P^ff)- 

" I find it so. I read very often the words of good old 
pious David. ' I have never seen the righteous forsaken, 
nor his seed begging bread.' " 

" Is that in the Bible ? Now it goes. (Puff, piff, 
puff). 

" ' In the Bible,' aunt Dorothy ! Indeed it is, every 
word of it ; did not you know that ?" 

" Well, I guess I did, but I don't know exactly. Drum, 
drum, drum." 

" Precious words they are for us poor souls," said the 
widow. 

" Well, we are poor souls, sure enough. I told Cap'n 
Bunce I had'nt a whole dress to my back, nor a sheet to 
my bed, and what do you think he said, ai ?" 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 21 

" I don't know ; sometimes he speaks rather quick 
and " 

" I know. He told me to go to , with my back ; 

he'd give me a new dress when his ship come in from 
India, and not afore, ai 1 How do you like that, widow? 

D him !" said she, with a fury-fire in her face — a 

shake of her staff ; after which she hummed away as 
before — 

" Drum de drum ; drum-de drum, dri, dro ; 
Rise my soul and stretch thy wing " 

" Oh, well, aunt Dorothy — he's * quick,' I say — and it's 
a trying world ; but we must have patience and not re- 
turn railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing " 

" I ' blessed' him," she replied. " I told him he'd go 
there before I did, or never get his just desarts." 

•'* You did, not now, aunt Dorothy, speak so to him ?" 

" Yes I did too ; and I slamm'd the door in his face. 
He's an old, hard, grinding hypocrite. Hang him ! He's 
starving us to death, and freezing us to death — and the 
other day he kicked old Joe so that he's laid up for all 
winter, I'll bet you a guinea, as stiff as my cane." 

" What made him do that ?" 

" Nothing. Just because Joe did'nt incline to work 
out in a rain storm. Nothing." 

" And is old Joe really hurt ?" 

" ' Really hurt !' I guess you'd think so." 

" And laid up ?" 

" ' Laid up ?' Yes, he can't get off the bed. He's half 
dead ; and he says he'd rather die than live any longer, 
any how." 

" It's terrible to die so, aunt Dorothy." 

" Who cares ?" (Pnff, pvff, imff). 

" Perhaps I can go and comfort him with something 
out of the Bible — what do you think, aunt Dorothy ?" 



22 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" Well now, that's a good notion, Mrs. Prescott, any 
way. Just do it now. He's a harmless old crittur, we 
all know, and it won't hurt him if it does him no good, 
just as it don't me, you know. 

" Drum, drum, drum ; dri, dro, dri, 

Saints and sinners there shall meet — shall meet, 
Dri, dro, dri, drum, dri, dro " 

" Well, let us go and see him, right away. Perhaps 
he'll relish a little good talk if he's so poorly off, any 
how." 

So old aunt Dorothy Brinsmade, with her staff and 
crutch, hobbled away, and the widow, bending with age, 
hobbled after. But at the foot of the stairs, up which 
their way led them to Joe's quarters, they encountered 
blind Hetty, with a bowl and a plate in her hands. She 
had evidently been on an errand of kindness to some 
one, probably old Joe himself — so it proved. 

" So it's you, gal, is it ?" sajd aunt Dorothy. 

" Ah, it is Hetty 1" said the widow. 

" Yes," said the blind girl. " I've been round a little." 

" Ah ! Hetty," said the widow, " remember the words 
of the Saviour — ' I was hungered and ye gave me meat ; 
thirsty and yet gave me drink ; naked and ye clothed 
me.'" 

" I have often heard them," said she in reply, " and I 
wish I could do more as they bid me." 

" The Lord bless you, gal, for the good that's in your 
soul," said the old woman." 

" Drum, drum, drum ; dro, dro, dro, de-dro ; 
Life is the time to serve the Lord — " 

" Have you seen old Joe this morning. Miss Hetty ?" 
inquired the widow. 

" Yes, I have just been to him with a little breakfast. 
He is old, and seems to be lame and stiff and sore " 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 23 



" Seems so, gal ! Your father's almost 



" Hiish ! aunt Dorothy," said the widow, laying her 
hand suddenly on her mouth. And in a lower tone she 
added — " Don't hurt the poor girl's feelings." 

The old woman raised for a moment her flashing eyes, 
but the fury in them softened as they met those of the 
pious widow, and fell on the delicate form of the young 
girl before her, so nearly blind, yet smiling kindly 
through her tears. 

" What were you about to say of my father, aunt 
Dorothy ?" she asked. 

" Nothing ! nothing, gal," she answered, " only he's 
not got your gal's heart in him." 

" That's true of a great many men," said the widow, 
softly. 

" I'll swear to that !" quickly chimed in the old wo- 
man. " There's a score of them to one who've just no 
heart at all, and old Joe might die for it afore he'd get 
much pity from " 

Here again the widow pressed her finger on the old 
woman's mouth, who gulped down the remainder of the 
sentence, and the blind girl was left in doubt of her 
meaning, or in perfect ignorance of it. 

" I hope you think old Joe is better now," said the 
widow to Hetty. 

" Yes, he says he is, and he ate my breakfast with a 
good appetite." 

" You've done him a mercy, Miss Hetty, and the 
Bible says, that he who gives a cup of water to a disci- 
ple, in the name of the Lord, shall not lose his reward." 

" That's a great promise for so small a favor," said the 
girl. 

" And it's a great Saviour, Hetty, who gives it, re- 
member." 



24 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" I know — I know, you always told me so." 

" Yes, don't forget him." 

" Is Joe a disciple ?" inquired aunt Dorothy, humming 
her tones, and saying, " ' Blest be the tie that binds.' " 

" Joe's a poor, innocent sort of a body, a sufferer any 
way," said the widow, and perhaps the Saviour meant 
him." 

"P'raps so," said aunt Dorothy. " Wall, good-bye, gal ; 
we're going to try to climb these old rotten stairs to see 
him — old Mrs. Prescott and I ; may he's we can get 
some comfort in his soul — from the Bible. Mrs. Prescott, 
come along — the old stairs won't break down, I guess, 
though it would'nt hurt them much, if Cap'n Bunce 
would make a new sett." 

Blind Hetty went off, and escaped hearing the last of 
the sentence, which might have wounded her. 

On a wretched bed, with scarcely clothes to cover 
him, unshaven, uncombed, unwashed, in an unfinished 
part of the loft, they found the object of their search. 
Shall we say the dying man ? Yes, truly, Joe was dying. 
He was feeble and aged ; and the cold nights coming 
on, combined -with rougher usage of late than usual, and 
poor Joe was "getting down" fast. Nobody knew 
this, least of all did he know it. As for the Captain, 
he had often seen the paupers sick and feeble, near death, 
and quite dead ; he had also seen them low, and unac- 
countably weak, but up they came, and were smart 
again, so that he could not tell " for the life of him" 
how it would go with any of them when a little sick or 
ailing ; but finding that Joe did not " rally," and having 
some idea that he might have been instrumental in 
" upsetting " him, as he termed Joe's illness, he sent 
word to the doctor to " call round in the course of the 
day." 



LIFE IN THE NORTHEEN POOR-HOUSE. 25 

Mother Prescott and the old woman approached the 
bed very quietly on which the sick man lay. The kind 
little, visit and the nourishing breakfast of Hetty, had 
really given him much relief. The old man raised his 
eyes on the new comers, and seeing the pious old widow 
one of them, he immediately smiled and put out his 
withered and trembling hand towards her. 

But before we advance further with this interview, we 
desire to introduce the reader a little more plainly to the 
poor-house itself, and some of its immediate collaterals 
and surroundings, so we shall see where the paupers 
live. 



26 NEW England's chattels ; or, 



CHAPTER 11. 

In preparing Statistics of the Population, and tables on Political Economy, we 
yhould pay especial attention to what appears on the Surfa.ee. As there may 
have been other persons alive in our places, now below the surface, so there may 
once have been other mansions where now are found but such as these. 

You have seen the palaces, and the marble and elej^ant 
brown-stone front houses of the rich, and large, tight, 
handsome farm-houses, and gentlemen's cottages in city 
and country, but have you ever seen one of our moral 
poor-houses, where the paupers live ? Here then is 
one. It is The Poor-House of Crampton, a New Eng- 
land town, of three or four thousand inhabitants, an old 
ruined edifice, having an antique but not an attractive 
or original model, as it is simply a low one story house 
with a high, sharp roof. It represents peculiarities 
common to many an old house. It has been painted, and 
painted red, perhaps twice or three times painted ; but 
this was a long time ago, and indeed it was a long time 
ago that any mere casual observer would notice it had 
ever been thus treated and protected. Once it was a 
snug, tight, warm, dry dwelling house, full of busy, happy 
children, the home of some souls now gone to their rest. 
But it is now an open, cold, decayed affair, shaking and 
rattling in the winds, and has served as a shelter for 
swine and cattle, a home of bats, mice, fowls. The 
shingles are decayed, some are all gone, others very 
loose, and mould-covered. The wind and storms easily 
displace them, so that of course the roof is no longer 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 27 

%yater-tight and rain-proof, and the apartments it covers 
are seldom otherwise than wet, or damp all round when 
it rains or the snows melt. But in this case it some- 
times happens, as it not unfrequently does in leaky 
houses, that in one rain, this part of a room drips water, 
and in another that. Thus the furniture in these rooms 
acquired a great facility of locomotion, the chairs and 
beds where these necessary articles of domestic life 
abounded, moving here and there according to the exi- 
gences of the case, with little difficulty in worn and 
well-smoothed grooves. Good doors, tight clapboards, 
sound windows once belonged to the house, but now the 
doors are old and warped, hanging out of true, flaky, 
creaking on their hinges, swinging over decayed, loose 
or absent thresholds. The clapboards here and there 
drop an end for want of a nail. The windows show 
many a broken pane, many a place filled with rags and 
papers, or perchance an old weather-beaten hat. The 
old, ruined, wide-picket fence in front, racked this way 
and that, the posts being eaten off, and the upper por- 
tion settled down into their soft, decayed parts, and 
wrapt around by the heaving earth and the rank grass 
and vines, one bracing this and another that way, con- 
trives, nobody ever knew how a fence like this could 
do so, to hold up against every sort of gale, year in and 
year out. So the old chimney stands, though now and 
then an ancient-looking, blackened brick, that has been 
poising long on the edge of the crumbling pile, falls 
with a startling sound on the old roof, and half slides off 
to the ground. 

The interior of this house has, it is true, the advantage 
of the outside covering, be the same more or less,but 
then there are not wanting disadvantages of its own, that 
may be fairly said to compensate for that superiority. 



28 . NEW encxLand's chattels ; or. 

The apartments immediately under the roof, for exam- 
ple, are low, damp, as we have said, the ceiling grimy, 
cracked, or fallen ; the walls untidy, heavy lines of dis- 
coloration sweep over them in all directions ; modern 
white-washing they " ignore," as we use a term ; and 
paper-hangings, alias wall-paper, well moistened with 
gum-solvents or paste, have no affinity or adhesiveness 
for walls already too moist from outside causes. All 
sorts of ugly pictures, therefore, such as grim, horrid 
faces of giants ; distant and uncertain landscapes ; mon- 
sters of the animal creation ; dark and foreboding storm- 
clouds ; yawning chasms, and far-extending, crooked 
and lawless rivers, paint themselves on the walls before 
you. The floors creak under your tread, and are full of 
yawning seams, and these are choked with filth seldom 
thoroughly brushed away. These rooms, almost never 
washed and scoured, old, decayed, and rat-eaten, are 
musty with age and bad use. The rooms, moreover, 
boast not of solid partitions ; but the apartments are 
separated one from the other by boards poorly matched, 
or gaping wide, and so with hingeless doors, are as un- 
safe hiding-places of secret things, as uncomfortable 
retirements of innocence for sleep, meditation, prayer, 
or of fatigue for rest, of sickness for quiet, of old 
age for death. Thus uninviting are the three old 
chambers under the roof of the poor-house, the most 
direct way to which is by a very rickety, worn, unsafe 
flight of stairs, with here and there a step partly or en- 
tirely missing. And in these so-called rooms, the furni- 
ture, if of varied style, is of little varied value. Here is 
a crazy nine-penny chair, and there an antiquated, long- 
out-of-date bedstead, the worse for wear, but wearing 
little worse by longer use, rough, creaking, dangerous. 
A greasy, worn sack of straw partially conceals its knotty 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 29 

cord, that makes no promise safely to bear one through 
the. night. Tattered and foul bedding, and sparse at 
that, lies twisted together there ; happy he who feels 
no need of seeing it unwound. In one apartment, an 
appearance of a chest meets the eye ; in another, a poor, 
miserably cheap table ; a piece of mirror rests on the 
window sash, and a comb with two or three generations 
of hair combings and aggregations of all sorts, even 
nameless aggregations ; and broken, brown, glazed 
earthen ware, of short supply — these make up the fur- 
niture — these are all, or so nearly all, that it is not worth 
the time nor ink to write the balance. Carpets ? None 
whatever. Rockers, soft and easy ? None. Lounges ? 
No. Paintings and statuettes ? All wanting. Rose- 
wood, mahogany, cherry, even stained bureaux ? They 
are not here. Nor are there downy beds, wnth full, 
luxuriant pillow, and sheets of purest white, curtains 
and mirrors, and " balm of a thousand flowers," and 
costly apparatus for queenly toilette. No! no! no! 
These are in queen's houses, and in the courts and halls 
of the great. There is nothing here of beauty, taste or 
convenience ; nothing beyond the simplest calls of ne- 
cessity. That is the law of these rooms. A dollar 
would buy all we have shown you. No auctioneer would 
strike them down but on a special commission. 

On these old creaking beds, many a half-starved, ruin- 
ed, desperate, lost soul has stretched himself for the last 
time, and quickly given up the ghost, little effort it may 
be making, or (being made by others) to hinder life's 
last throbbing in him. 

Descending by these trembling stairs to the large, 
open kitchen, with its low, dark w^alls, blackened by the 
smoke of 3'ears from the great fire-place, whose wide 
find uglv flue refuses to float off the heavv waste ol 



30 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

sputtering fires beneath it ; and blackened by constant 
adhesions of direful, nauseating clouds of smoke from 
pipes well filled with coarsest product of the old Domin- 
ion's staple — found in the street, begged here and there, 
or stolen, as the case might chance, which poor and for- 
saken w'retches, tenants of these quarters, men and wo- 
men, used to while away the hours, and misery make, if 
not merry, less miserable ; and blackened by its dark- 
ened windows, stained by no magic art of pencil, but by 
the common law of unwashen glass ; and blackened by 
its ow^n reflections, every object in it dark and gloomy 
— even the countenance divine of men and women 
moving there from place to place — you are in the great 
common room of the poor-house, where the people throng 
by day, and where they often rest by night. 

Here are the same styles of broken wnndows, worn 
and feeble chairs and tables, shattered walls and gaping 
doors elsewhere on the premises discoverable. And in 
one corner of the room there is a stout, common, grindy 
looking bedstead, where some of the tenants fling them- 
selves if the few chairs and benches are occupied by 
others, or it is the refuge of the weary, the sullen, the 
sick, or intemperate — a miserable refuge — a very poor, 
ugly bed. 

By a large, wide door on the end of the building, 
egress and ingress to and from this apartment takes 
place. Then there is the so-called parlor, and front 
south room, and the north bed-room, rooms once very 
aptly thus denominated, and put to use in manner cor- 
responding. But now these same apartments are only 
caricatures of those specifications, haggard dormitories 
now they are, for haggard beings, otherwise minus dor- 
mitories altogether. And all these rooms are, as to 
cleanliness, furniture, comfort, about as marked and at- 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 31 

tractive as those already spoken of. The doors of more 
than one of these apartments are altogether missing* — 
perhaps in some great necessity of fuel, they were " cast 
into the fire ;" others may want a panel, or a hinge, 
or latch or key and other fastening, so yielding little pro- 
tection from outsiders, and giving little place of secresy. 

By twos, threes, fours and sixes, the wasted, ill-sorted, 
and trembling wretches of this New England poor-house 
were wont to huddle together in these rooms which we 
have thus imperfectly described. They were never cer- 
tain of their respective couches, although certain always 
if sleep o'ertook them, and the light of day awoke them, 
to arise, gaunt, hungry, cold, and miserable. 

But why should they complain of what was charitably 
given them by their fellow men, and, especially, when to 
complain would prove them unmindful of their mercies, 
and fail to soften the hardship ? A labor, this, extrava- 
gantly useless. 

In respect to raiment, the Crampton paupers enjoyed 
a monopoly of one in many. Their daily, holiday, and Sun- 
day garments were the same. It made no difference with 
them what saint's day or jubilee or holiday came round ; 
their garments were always ready for the occasion. You 
would know a pauper by his raiment as certainly as a 
state-prison fugitive. It was law at the poor-house to 
wear out their changes of attire — to wear them to the 
last shreds, beyond the shiny thread-bare surface, and the 
treble patch, and many-colored piecing — to put them 
clear through, and then resign them with regret. And 
they wandered here and there, with and without hats, 
slouching and broken ; bonnets flaring and faded ; in 
worn, large, cast-away shoes and boots, in very awkward 
and misfitting covering throughout — wandered about 
idle, vagrant, mournful relics, many — yea, most of them. 



32 NEW ENGLAND'S CHATTELS : OR, 

of better days — prominent candidates for a hastily dug, 
hastily filled, and an unmarked grave. 

Such were the white and black paupers of Crampton ; 
a good town of New England ; a land of religion, learn- 
ing, and refinement ; a place of thrift, charity, and im- 
provement. 

Yet occasionally it would happen that some forlorn 
wretch, man or woman, driven into the poor-house by 
disaster common to many and uncommon to some, with 
memory of other days yet fresh in him, and love of order 
yet surviving, would trim both room and bed with such 
an air of neatness or taste, that, despite all the surround- 
ings of wretchedness and mockery of happiness, there 
would seem in them much of earthly comfort. And also, 
among these despairing creatures, sometimes there would 
be found one who loved the Lord, and who would act the 
part of reprover unto others in their sins, and to all the 
miserable and dying be a friend and counsellor. So has 
Providence ordained that even the wretched and the 
vile shall receive instrnction,warning, persuasion, while 
they remain on earth, although their condition is unfe- 
vorable for the exercises of practical piety, and their 
wickedness would seem too flagrant for hope. 

Mrs. Prescott seemed sent to the poor-house by an 
over-ruling Hand. Nobody could exactly tell why she 
was allowed to spend her last days there — so good, pious, 
charitable as she was and had been ; but there she was. 
And who knows but she was sent there by the Lord to 
do good? There were some creatures in that poor- 
house who had souls ! They were a squalid, miserable 
set of beings ; but what they wanted was just what you 
and I want, and every body else wants — a thorough soul- 
cleansing. 

So aunt Prescott thought. So aunt Dorothy said and 
sung. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 33 



CHAPTER III. 

Gentlemen who sell their Cattle, Sheep, and Hogs by Auction, so contrive it that 
the highest bidder gets them : so they realize. When a lot of Paupers is dis- 
posed of at Auction, the town so contrives it that the loicest bidder gets them : 
so the town realizes. 

Let no one suppose that in this description of the 
poor-house of Crampton,we mean to say it is the property 
of that town. Not at alL The only property in it the tovrn 
claims is, to its tempbrary occupants, the paupers. These 
belong to it. They are natives of the town — "town-born," 
as we say — or long resident citizens, wdio have acquired 
what is called a " legal settlement" there. They may 
also have become residents, and gained a settlement by 
owning real estate to the value of three hundred and 
fifty dollars,* voting, and paying taxes on this and other 
estate, if other, in possession. Fallen into the arms of 
Poverty, while legally citizens of a town, the paupers 
have a claim of support from it, and go to the poor-house. 
But as we have said, not to the town's house, though the 
town may, and often does, own a town or poor-house. 
It is the house of a private individual of the place into 
whose care the town has confided its paupers for a given 
period — say a year. The manner of this conveyance? 
That we shall show jon as we proceed ; it is an impor- 
tant quality in the act, and has much to do with our 
story. Here, we simply say, the paupers of the town, 
be the number more or less, are disposed of at the annual 

* And in some of the New Ensland States one hundred dollars.— At-TiniH. 



34 XEw England's chattels; or, 

town meeting when tlie voters assemble to choose their 
selectmen and other officers for the year, either at pub- 
lic auction to the lowest bidder, or they are more 

quietly worked off by the selectmen and overseers of 
the poor, (at the best bargains possible,) at what may be 
called a private town Sale, selling the whole to one indi- 
vidual, or selling, i. e. (if you please,) boarding, or rent- 
ing, or farming them out in parcels to several individu- 
als, always at the loiccst 2'>ossihlc price, that the town may 
feel their supjjoi't as little as may he ! They are disposed 
of by the town or its agents in " lots to suit purchasers," 
or in a body, as it may best suit the town. Free white 
men, women, and children, educated — once, if not now 
respectable — voters, tax-payers, the ill-tides of fortune 
bearing them to the town hall, they are " passed upon" 
as paupers, and sold out — work, wages, food, clothing, 
body and soul — for the year, the town agreeing to pay 
so much money to him who will take the risk and do the 
best he can with it — working them as he likes, clothing 
them as he deems it pecuniarily safe, and so feeding them 
likewise ; and in the event of sickness and death, quietly, 
and at such charges as he deems it wise for him, con- 
signing them to the grave. 

The successful bidder for this stock of New England 
pauper-humanity is usually a citizen of the town, who 
may be in debt, and wish to free himself therefrom — in 
itself a laudable desire ; he may be a man of small fam- 
ily, to whom a larger responsibility may not be very 
irksome ; he may be a large farmer, who can employ the 
paupers on his grounds ; he may be one who has a large 
house and little use for it, who, in its wings and garrets, 
thinks he can accommodate the poor ; or he may be one 
who owns a long, dark, dilapidated, forsaken :*-enement, 
where his father lived or his more distant grandfather, 



LIFE IX THE NORTHERN P002-H0USE. 35 

since then used as a storehouse for grain and lumber — a 
retreat for the fowls and sheep and swine — abandoned, 
otherwise, long years ago ; but which, by the aid of 
broom, and shovel, and soap, and nails, the tightening 
of floor boards, doors and windows, may be deemed a 
snug quarters for the town's poor ! 

The reader will understand that this mode of support- 
ing the paupers is a private enterprise — a private risk 
or speculation — in which the town bears no part, having 
nothing to hope or fear in it ; these exercises of the 
mind being altogether confined to the individual specu- 
lator. The part which the town has in this transaction 
is the putting up of the property at sale, to be worked 
off as a temptation to somebody ; the moral, conscien- 
tious, and religious people voting to give him so many 
good dollars a year, as he, in a fair competition with other 
bidders, takes the job for, and risks all its possible con- 
tingencies and consequences. 

The speculator in this sort of chattels sometimes makes 
the risk a valuable one, and at other times ruinous to 
himself. It is very much as the man is as to genius, 
tact, energy, calculation. Remuneration in poor-house 
tenantry is got by " grinding the faces of the poor" to 
a considerable degree of sharpness, and by ciphering 
down the cost of things till they aggregate in ciphers. 
A man who would remunerate himself in such risks, 
must be a man of great faith in the ability of paupers to 
live on almost notliing, to suffer almost every thing, and 
to be contented with almost any thing ! 

There is another feature of this private enterprise in 
human stocks (!) that it may be well simply to mention. 
It is, that the poor generally fall into the hands of a 
class of persons, not over scrupulous on conscientiou- 
grounds as to the manner of fulfilling their contract with 



36 NEW England's chattels ; or. 

the town — a class " hard up" for funds, familiar with 
profanity, wath coarse and vulgar associates ; an order- 
less mode of life, w^ith crowds of talkers and idlers round 
them — a class of the more desperate, hardened and in- 
temperate, whose families, wives and children are scolds, 
rough and overbearing, w^ith whom kind words and gen- 
tle demeanor are rare exceptions ; or perchance a class of 
mere and much-loving money-getters — getters of money 
" for the last days." The easy, quiet, well-off families — 
the gay, the thriving, industrious, conscientious farmers 
and residents of the town — have no or little rivalship 
with this class of speculators ; they do not want, they 
will not bid on it: — they care not to take " the risk." 

Accordingly, it is pretty much all one way with the 
poor — a poor way. Speculators have it all pretty much 
after their own way — a grinding, w^ay. 

Every town in New England has (or a modification of 
it) one of these pauper institutions ; for all New England 
has its town paupers. In many hundreds of instances 
at this very day, the town poor are held in the most ab- 
ject and wretched condition, equaling in every respect 
all that we say of the Crampton paupers. But we are 
happy that it is not so in every town. There has been 
introduced a very great improvement of the system in 
many localities. Town and count}^ forms, with appro- 
priate dwellings and shops, and a permanent agency to 
look after the welfare of the poor, have made their state 
far more comfortable than it once was, and have more 
nearly allied the institution itself to a benevolent and 
Christian one, or house of mercy. 

Still, there we find the half-clad pauper, the orphan 
girl, the ignorant boy, the forgotten old member of soci- 
ety and the church. In her old poor-houses are yet 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERX POOR-HOUSE. 37 

found the representatives of hard fortune, and the Wit- 
nesses of Christian Neglect. 

" What is to be done with the paupers this year ?" 
inquired Captain Bunce of one of the old selectmen. 

'•This year V 

"Ai."' 

" Why this year in particular, he}'-?" 

" Because there's a row among some of the folks about 
disposing them at a fair trade or auction." 

" I don't care that for the stir-about that's made !" said 
the other, snapping his thumb and finger in the air. 
" We shall dispose of them to suit ourselves. Ain't we 
the town ? Han't Ave got the majority five to one ? A 
putty idea to knuckle to A., B., and C. to suit their 
consciences. No, sir 1 The town is poor, and must look 
out for itself. Sell the paupers, I say, to the lowest man ; 
and that man, I see, Captain, is just yourself. Ha ! ha 1 
Ai, Captain ? Eh ?" 



38 NEW England's chattels ; or, 



CHAPTER IV. 

Captain Isaac Bunce, Mrs. Bunce, all the Bunces, more especially the Captain, 
who has a moral and religious standard. His merciful convictions have a tri- 
umphal ascendency over his daily overt practice, and rule him uncommonly 
■well disposed. 

In the old weather-beaten and comfortless edifice we 
have described standing plump up by the stage-road in 
the valley of the great Slip-Slop Creek, with a ridge of 
high hills close in the rear, and long, rolling mounds and 
some hills in front, and wide-spreading farms to the 
south and east, were gathered the paupers of the town 
of Crampton, numbering about fifteen persons. Besides 
these, there were a few other individuals in the town 
not yet absolutely needy, living at present with friends 
or relatives, receiving each a small allowance, say from 
two to five dollars a year, which was paid by the town 
to their friends who took care of them, and in considera- 
tion whereof they furnished them a little more kindlily 
an abode at their ov/n homes, but usually " homes" that 
another death in the family, another paralysis, a foreclo- 
sure of a mortgage, or possibly the next twelve-month 
ebbings of compassion, would entirely break up — happily 
for the town if it did not add two instead of one to the 
number of its actual paupers. 

This poor-house, a sort of half-habitable looking edifice, 
overshadowed by the old appte trees of the orchard that 
had grown strong, great heavy trees, ^ome of them fifty, 
sixty, or even seventy years old, an orchard of them in 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 39 

the rear -vvhere the swine rooted, the geese gabbled, the 
calves and lambs frolicked, the horses rolled, and bullocks 
pawed the earth and bellowed, large famous old trees 
with their roots wound among the rocks, and their arms 
stretching far out, here and there intertwining, and 
among them hens and turkies finding safe refuge from 
nightly prowling foxes. Sometimes, from its enormous, 
ruined chimney lazily rolled off the smoke indicating 
life within ; at other times, in the warm summer, its win- 
dows were thrown open, and human faces thrust them- 
selves out into human view ; and again, its crazy front 
door, beneath the old untrimmed lilacs, (where was there 
ever an old country ruin that had no lilac bushes at its 
portals ?) was sw^ung wide on its rusty hinges ; and per- 
chance two or three human beings filled the entrance, or 
lounged lazily on its threshold. Near the east end of 
the house a babbling and rapid rivulet passed, that came 
off the hills and through the woods, a clear sparkling 
stream tumbling over the rocks and gurgling through 
the walls and meandering through the pastures and mea- 
dows to the Slip-Slop Creek. The water was pure, soft, 
abundant, one of the natural blessings of the poor. They 
sometimes washed their clothes in it, and occasionally 
their faces, hands, and feet. 

Another large, red, two-story, sharp-roofed house, no 
wise trim and neat, and comfortable looking and attrac- 
tive, stood within hailing distance on the north side of 
the poor-house. This, with its wide drive-way to the 
yard and sheds, and huge barn in the rear, was the dwell- 
ing-house of Captain Isaac Bunce, owner of the poor- 
house and keeper of the paupers. Separated from the 
poor-house by a high board fence, yet communicating 
with it through a gate, it represented property, bustling 
activity, and independence. In the wide yard around 



40 NEW England's chattels ; or 

th.e house there were sheds — a long, low line of dark 
sheds for housing wood, for sheltering wagons and carts, 
for storing ploughs, and barrows, and scrapers, and all 
the utensils and apparatus of the farm. And the yard 
was 611ed with wood, chips, old fence rails, broken 
ploughs, carts, and other instruments, uiensils, and im- 
plements of work-life, gone somewhat or totally to decay. 
And there were sheds around the barn, flanking it on 
this side and that, where the uneasy, wandering cattle 
lounged, going in and coming out as they listed, or the 
stiiBfer horn of some old ox made moving less a choice 
than a necessity. And here too were the poultry and 
the calves, and the sheep and lambs. 

In this broad yard, the paupers, if any were active and 
able-bodied, were " held to service," some in making, 
others in gathering chips, others still in sentinel duty 
watching the romping pigs and calves. Of the females, 
work of various kinds was oft demanded in the house, 
mopping, scrubbing, washing clothes, making beds, 
sweeping, etc. Half of every sunny day there might be 
seen here and there crouched down on the warm side of 
a shed, or a wood-pile, among loose barrels, or cart-wheels, 
or perchance stretched out on a pile of boards, or rails, 
some feeble, aged person, almost done with earth, yet 
yearning for its warmth and sunshine ; or sad and mel- 
ancholy and drooping human forms passed here and 
there on the grounds — high and hilarious shoutings, 
voices in merry story tellings and railleries, laughter 
that maketh glad the hearts from the large dwelling 
where were busy women, or jovial men, reposing from 
work or cheerful from wine, falling on their ears, not as 
shoutings and voices and laughter of encouragement, 
not as from circles of loving children, not as sympathetic 
with sorrow and friendlessness, nor as attracting to its 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOK-HOUSE. 41 

circle the lonely and broken-hearted — not as these, oh ! 
no, no. 

Men and women shouted there over their own free 
jests, in forgetfulness of the sorrow that was weighing 
down the poor. 

For five successive years Captain Bunco had kept the 
poor of Crampton ; it seeming to be the opinion of a 
majority of the town that his terms were easier for them 
than any that others proposed, and his accommodations, 
on the ivJiole, the best for the poor that could be had. It 
is true that some of the citizens of Crampton were dis- 
inclined to go with the majority, and urged a different 
mode and system of supporting the poor. They were, 
however, a small minority, and by most regarded and 
treated derisively, as fanatics or squanderers of the town 
treasury, or possibly with patronizing civility. Other 
individuals there were who had a strong desire for a 
portion of the "loaves and fishes" — i. e., to share the 
spoils in the disposition of the poor at a cash valuation. 
Hence they were competitors for the job, risk, or duty, 
with the Captain and with one another. 

But party politics, diplomatic shrewdness, lobby but- 
ton-pulling, and the wishes of the majority all favored 
the Captain, and his bids prevailed. 

In person, Captain Bunce was a large, florid-looking 
man, nearly six feet in height, with broad shoulders, 
long, stout arms, and hard hands. He was careless of 
dress, rough and ready in his manners. He was not 
usually and wantonly profane, but easily and often fell 
into the practice. In his orders, he was rather loud and 
dictatorial ; swaggering in his talk ; always making a 
good stor^" better by recapitulation ; professing great 
familiarity u. ' the details of all sorts of business ; a 
knuwiedge of the value of property, real and personal ; 



42 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

a positive love of hard work for work's sake ; and an 
acquaintance with human nature that enabled him to 
draw out of every body around him more work than any 
other man under the same circumstances. 

Notwithstanding he seemed always well supplied with 
funds, he was one of a class ever in debt. His bills 
against the town had been sometimes as high as eight 
hundred dollars a year ; but competition is the ruin of 
high prices, and it had run the Captain down to six 
hundred — an income still that his rivals deemed almost 
the same as clear gain, and that he also did not under- 
rate in his own bosom's thoughts. None knew better 
than he that the ready first cost of provisions for the 
paupers simply, was very trifling. It was absolutely 
and scripturally necessary that the Captain should pro- 
vide for his own household ; and as this was rather large, 
a little over — a very little extra supply of provisions — 
would make an abundance of fare " for all the poor folks 
that Crampton ever got together" — i. e., from the over- 
plus, ibid the leavings. Hence, from a certain point of 
necessary charges any way, (the Captain figured it,) the 
paupers' food would be about the same to him in the 
actual deficit of his ways and means, as the true value 
of two decimals themselves in a fractional place where 
the units and tens were wanting, and the whole repre- 
senting — a cipher ! 

Although the nominal guardian of the poor of the 
town, which implied some benevolence of feeling, he 
really "cared not for the poor," except in so far as he 
carried " the bag" by which they, in being supported, 
supported him. As with every other individual who, at 
any given time, had been put in charge of the paupers, it 
was for the sake of making money he kept them a single 
day. Boasting of his benevolence, and of a merciful and 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 43 

humane treatment of his poor dependents, the treatment 
after all was such as the weight of " the bag" demon- 
strated expedient. Of course ! 

The Captain farmed a good many acres, heavily under 
mortgage ; and as far as they were able, sometimes ex- 
ceeding their ability, he compelled the paupers to lend 
him their assistance. He held this to be a proof of his 
humanity and benevolence, inasmuch as they being 
somewhat in years ; somewhat stiff and cold ; somewhat 
decrepid ; the blood sluggish and low, with little ambi- 
tion or motive to execution, they were greatly inclined 
:o inaction, and to a dull, monotonous, sleepy sort of 
life, the indulgence of which was bad — very ; productive 
of distempers, fevers, agues, and that sort. He would 
frequently, therefore, counsel them to "stir" themselves, 
to "take the air," to "shake off melancholy," and "drow- 
siness," and "gloomy recollections" of the past. 

" It is better for you," said he, " better for you ' by 
half,' to be busy at some close, steady employment, from 
morning till night, than to sit here moping." 

With this merciful and humane vieAV of his duty, Cap- 
tain Bunce " stirred" up the poor-house community every 
day with directions to do this and that job of work, to 
hire which done would have been expensive, and alto- 
gether useless with so much unemployed material on 
hand — his good intentions sometimes failing, it is true, 
and the benefit coming short, as the individuals in ques- 
tion, and that not unfrequently, were found more feeble 
in body than the given employment contemplated, per- 
adventure actually on the sick list, a bed. But sickness 
and disappointment are human inconveniences. 

This mercy in the direction the Captain gave it, filled 
a very large field — an almost boundless one. It contri- 
buted very much, in his opinion, to realize a joyful re- 
union of both ends of the financial year, and thus secure 



44 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

to the paupers themselves the continuous advantages of 
his roomy and desirable quarters for their home. We 
ought not to forget it, and will say while it is in mind, 
that Captain Bunco was by his works a religious man. 
He attended church, rented a good slip, and when any 
of the paupers died he sent word religiously and 
promptl}' to the minister to lose no time in attending 
the funeral obsequies. Perhaps there was not one man 
in the town who entertained a more vivid conception of - 
his own personal integrity, independence, morality , mercy, 
humanity, diligence, thrift, popularity with all classes of 
citizens, and reverence for religion than Captain Bunce. 
But standards of personal excellence are seldom lived 
up to, and still more rare is it that we see them exceed- 
ed. This was the case with the Captain. He formed, 
notwithstanding every good thing about him, no excep- 
tion to the rule — certainly he did no more than equal 
his. Disguise the matter as he would in his own eye, 
to others it was palpable that he wore a rum face, man- 
aged his affairs loosely, blustered and stewed and swag- 
gered, instead of diligently and successfully minding his 
proper business, while his humanity and mercy, as well 
as all the moral qualities of which he boasted a large 
surplus, were in reality satellites of his extreme selfish- 
ness. A very great and wide difference of opinion this, 
from that which he entertained, and teaching all of us 
not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought! 

However, Captain Bunce had a great many mouths 
to feed ; and this was a trial of his disposition — of his 
moral qualities not only, but of his calculations — his 
mental qualities. He seemed to have imposed on him 
directly, a double share of trial, and this required in him 
all the virtues that, in a hasty enumeration of personal 
qualities, he accorded to himself. 

Annually on the town books of Cramp ton — a town of 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 45 

three or four thousand persons — there "was a good ave- 
rage of fifteen paupers. This number, in full, now 
looked up to Captain Bunce every day of their succes- 
sive three hundred and sixty-five, for all they had ! 

In the Bunce family proper, beside the Captain, there 
was Mrs. Bunce. She was a stout, healthy woman, and 
the mother of four living children grown up, viz. : Dick 
and Elisha, Betsey and Henrietta ; and beside these, 
there was a hired man and a servant girl. These were 
the mouths to feed daily, and the Captain was put hard 
up to meet the demand ; but his heart did not fail him 
at all as long as brandy and water could be had, and six 
or seven hundred dollars a year for the paupers found 
their way to his pockets. 

And yet, sublunary calculations and sublunary posses- 
sions are closely allied to sublunary disappointments ; 
and the Captain himself could not escape the operation 
of their causes and effects. The town paupers were be- 
ginning to slip through his fingers, and his farm and all 
that he possessed through his hands. For Mrs. Bunce, 
though a stout, healthy woman in the common use of 
language, was rather a red-faced woman, and fond of 
cider, ale, wine, and all the minor beverages proper for 
a woman to be fond of; and the two Bunce boys, Dick 
and Elisha, had a fondness for brandy and cigars ; and 
Dick, the elder, had a cough similar to one that carried 
off his elder brother Hallowell. Betsey Bunce was a 
coarse sort of a girl, strong for service — a stout, noisy, 
bold girl, engaged to marry Sam Durkee, the butcher. 
Henrietta, the youngest child, was now seventeen — a 
sweet-tempered, pale, good girl, gentle and kind, but 
unfortunately, nearly blind. When ten years of age, 
she lost an eye by the carelessness of her brother Elisha, 
then twelve years old. The boy held in his hand a 
large bow and arrow, and was showing Hetty his skill 



46 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

in shooting. At length, pointing his arrow in mere play 
at his sister, with the bow drawn tightly up, by accident 
the arrow escaped, and struck the right eye of the poor 
child, and destroyed it. The nerve of the other was so 
much affected through sympathy, that she was nearly 
blind ever after. She could, however, read a little, sew 
a little, knit, and do errands and light work about house. 
But Hetty was a child of misfortune ; and it seemed as" 
if her days would be few on earth, and that she would 
always be a source of anxiety, trouble, and expense to 
her parents — one, indeed, on whom they could place no 
reliance for help in the times of their own distress. 
Parents often say of lame Willie and blind Hetty, " we 
can't expect from them any help or comfort : alas ! what 
a misfortune to us and them." This is, fortunately, a 
great mistake. Lame Willie and blind Hetty often are 
lamed and blinded by Heaven for us. 

It was into the care of Captain Isaac Bunce and his 
amiable family that the poor of Crampton were confided 
by the authorities. They placed them with him mainly 
on these two considerations — First, That he had bid for 
them lower than any other of the respectable, moral and 
humane citizens of the town. Second, Because he was 
deemed responsible to fulfil his contract. They did not 
ask him where or how he would keep them, " provided 
always " that they were " suitably " kept, and in such a 
manner as " to save the town harmless " of any further 
cost than what the contract specified. Of this they 
were morally certain that neither he nor any other of 
the citizens of Crampton could be expected to keep 
them in his own house unless perfectly convenient, and 
absolutely necessary for the want of other accommoda- 
tions. Nor would he of course keep them in the same 
rooms and beds that he appropriated to his own family, 
and the relatives and occasional visitors of the family. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 47 

The stipulation was not of this sort, although the 
tender mercies of the town authorities were so actively 
in exercise that they contracted in the name of mercy 
and justice, which sometimes go sweetly together, of 
humanity and religion, (which sometimes have kissed 
each other,) such at least as Captain Bunce immortalized 
in his daily practice towards the paupers, for the " suit- 
able" keeping of the unfortunates in his charge. " Suit- 
able " keeping of town paupers means, in a manner that 
hardly any other human being would endure, i. e., in a 
very unsuitable way for persons who have money and are 
respectably, well off. This done, for example, by Cap- 
tain Bunce, and the town authorities, unless sent for, 
rarely visited the quarters of the poor, nor tarried long 
when they did. Captain Bunce courted no investiga- 
tion of his private practice of town officials, nor did he 
care especially that curious, prying, jealous eyes should 
examine his premises, and spy out his management. 
Feeling wholly competent to manage his own* concerns, 
what possible advantage was it to him that one and an- 
other person of the town should visit his " works " and 
volunteer advice ? The overseers rather liked this in- 
dependent spirit, and the town as a whole, felicitated 
itself in having the right sort of a man to take on his 
shoulders the tuhole charge of the pauper family. Seldom 
do we find two separate interests so nicely balanced as 
were these of the town and of Captain Bunce, and work- 
ing so harmoniously to a common end. 

As our friend the Captain did not intend to keep, 
shelter, feed and clothe the paupers in his own house, 
" where," it may be asked by some, " where did he in- 
tend to keep them ?" To be sure, in the poor-house, so- 
called, or rather in the old house we have described, 
and which, a great while ago, had been inhabited by the 



48 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

ancestors of the Bunce family, thus malsing the gene- 
alogical structure itself one of uncommon respectability. 

" Why," said Captain Bunce. " my father was born in 
this very house ! Yes, indeed, he was. And my grand- 
father lived here forty years. It is a most venerable, re- 
markable, extraordinary old house." 

" It is indeed," said Bill, the colored man, " it is as old 
as the hills." 

But the true character of such old forsaken tenements, 
the floor of the kitchen over the cellar trembling with 
its own weight, who does not know ? 

Here then the poor folks of Crampton had their home. 
They were not confined there as to a penitentiary or 
jail. They roamed about here and there, making neigh- 
borhood excursions, went to the Captain's kitchen and 
barn, were sent of errands, worked in the fields, etc., 
and occasionally some of them went away to beg or steal, 
or in idle curiosity roved off and were gone some days. 
But whatever they did, wheresoever they roamed, they 
never arose out of their condition of paupers, depen- 
dent, broken down, forgotten, doomed paupers ! They 
never found themselves in a situation that did not forci- 
bly remind them of their poverty, that great ill of hu- 
man life, that cause of much sinning, that blight on hu- 
man happiness and hope, that dimmer even of heaven's 
own glorious light. Their rooms, their raiment, their 
food, their means of enjoyment, their field of industry, 
their circle of friends and associates, the prayers and 
exhortations to which they listened, the portions of the 
gospel selected for their benefit, all, all reminded them 
that they were the poverty-stricken ones of the earth ; 
that their fellow-men regarded them as useless, thriftless, 
wasteful consumers, with but one scene in the play of 
life unacted, viz. — the death scene I 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 



CHAPTER V. 

Joe Harnden and his visitors. "When visits and calls are made they should be 
civil and short. Do not bore a friend to death by the length of your civility, but 
cut it short off before he shall even begin to wish you hadn't called at all. 

" And how do you feel to-day, Mr. Harnden ?" said the 
pious old widow with a very kind tone of voice, and 
taking him by his extended hand. 

" Joe's very sick," said he, " very sick, Mrs. Prescott, 
but he's on the mending order now, and will be up again 
by to-morrow or next day." 

" They that sow in tears shall reap in joy, you know," 
said she. " That's a precious word of consolation, Joe. 
It means that if we have some troubles and sorrows here, 
Ave shall get the better of them hereafter, in the help of 
the Lord." 

" My troubles, Mrs. Prescott," said the old man, " my 
troubles have come on me by my own doing, and it sort 
of strikes me that the Bible comfort isn't meant of such 
sinners ; it's meant for better sort of persons than de- 
serve to die in the poor-house." 

" Oh ! la sus, Joe," said the old woman Brinsmade, 
" then what's the chance for me and half of us ? Ye see, 
Joe, we must all consider there's some hope. Now 
your'n, and mine, may he's small. But — drum, drum, 
drum — a little's better than none at all — ain't it so — 
Miss Prescutt ?" 

" The Saviour of the world says, ' I am come to seek 
and to save them that are lost.' ' I come not to call the 

3 



50 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

righteous, but sinners to repentance.' ' Go ye out into 
the hignways and hedges and compel them to come in, 
(meaning poor folks, you know ? " Yes,'^ said aunt Doro- 
thy,) that my house may be filled.' " 

" And do you really reckon, Mrs. Prescott," inquired 
the sick man, " that a poor fellow like me, or any body 
like us, might have been meant by that sort of merciful 
language ?" 

" Oh, I know it, Joe ! It is all a perfect revelation of 
pity, the gospel — meant for the greatest of all sufferers, 
poor, and ignorant, and dying." 

'* Wall, I'll be hanged if I don't wish it might be true," 
he replied, wiping a tear from his eye. 

*' Oh, it's all true, Joe," said aunt Dorothy, " I'm a firm 
believer in it, and it'll do you a heap of good to believe 
it too." 

" Yes," said the widow, " a great deal, for we read, 
' He will wipe away all tears from their eyes, neither 
shall there be any more sorrow nor pain, and they shall 
be forever with the Lord, and your sins and iniquities 
will I remember no more forever.' " 

" That's a very good, and seems like a gracious pro- 
mise," said the poor creature. 

" Oh, it is, it has a great deal of comfort in it." 

" I've been a great rebel sinner," said the man, " a 
swearer, a drinker, gambler, and all that's bad ; but of 
late years I've thought on my ways some, and getting 
old I've left off some of my bad ways, but not from an 
understanding mind. Now I think I see where the truth 
is, if I can only get hold of it." 

*' You do, you can, sartain," said aunt Dorothy, " it is 
as plain as daylight. Don't put it off." 

" If you cast yourself on the Saviour for salvation, and 
do not cling to your own righteousness — " 



LIFE IN THE NOEIHERN POOR-HOUSE. 51 

" No, I throw that away, it's about as good as these 
bed-quilts — " 

" A hit, I s 1" cried aunt Dorothy, throwing her 

hands into the air in a perfect transport of feeling. 

" Mercy on us ! What do you mean, aunt Dorothy, to 
talk so ?" said the offended widow, and the old dying Joe 
rolled his eyes on her mournfully enough. 

" Well, it's no use fretting," said she, " I only spoke in 

earnest, not in wickedness, so help me ; ah ! now, 

I say, Joe, we are mighty glad you've got rid of your 
own righteousness, and begin to see the right sort — 
drum, drum, drum." 

" Joe," said the widow, stooping down to his pillow, 
and speaking in a low voice, " the Saviour says, ' He that 
Cometh unto me shall in no wise be cast out.' Now you 
must turn your mind to him and believe on him as your 
own suffering Saviour, dying on the tree, to save you. 
Then you must try to repent of all your sins, and cast 
yourself just as you are, by faith, upon the Lord. He'll 
accept you then, and it'll be just like the Prodigal Son 
going home to his father. Do you understand ?" 

" Yes, I think I do, a little," said he. 

" * Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, 
knock and it shall be opened unto you.' " 

After a few moments the invalid raised his eyes to 
her's and said, " It seems to me, if I could only pray — 
but it's of little use to think of it — I don't know how to. 
Can anybody pray for old Joe in his time of need ?" 

" Yes," said she, " I'll pray for you myself. Aunt 
Dorothy, let us kneel down and pray for him. He's 
feeling the ne«d of it, I know." 

Aunt Dorothy required no second asking, and then 
they kneeled down their aged limbs, poor, helpless sin- 
ners as they were, and while Joe shut his eyes and 



52 NEW ENGLAND'S •CHATTELS ; OR, 

moaned a true, penitent groan, the pious old lady offer- 
ed her humble and earnest petition ta the Saviour in 
his behalf. She was a praying saint, doubtless, and 
many an old pauper under that roof had heard her 
prayers in similar circumstances, and acknowledged her 
great kindness. So the good widow, even in her old 
age and weakness, was helpful to the poor ones there, in 
guiding them out of their dark and sinful paths into the 
light and pleasant ways of the Lord. 

Poor Joe had been a merchant. But the reverses of 
fortune and the allurements of the cup, long ago im- 
poverished him, and without a living relative near enough 
of kin to care for him, he became a pauper, shattered 
and weak of intellect, and a miserable wreck of humani- 
ty every way — a great change indeed from the gay and 
active young man of business, Mr. Joseph Harnden, of 
New York, merchant in Broadway. So it is with the 
poor of the north frequently. They are men who have 
been in a far better condition, and to all appearances, 
far enough from the poor-house. But no man knows 
what is before him in life, especially if he be addicted 
to any vice. It is very certain that even yet many a 
proud speculator, many a lady in silks, many a blushing 
maiden, many a hard-working laborer, will end his days 
among the paupers, as poor and miserable as any of 
whom we are now writing — because every antecedent 
cause of poverty, extravagance, intemperance, pride, 
licentiousness, dishonesty, anger, revenge, hatred, vio- 
lence, sickness, pestilence, conflagration and famine, now 
preys on the vitals of society very much as it has hitherto 
done. 

But we return to poor dying Harnden. The prayers 
and exhortations of the aged widow, good, old, pious, 
heaven-minded saint, seemed to have a very happy effect 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 53 

on his mind, and he said that whether he " dropped off" 
or " came up," he hoped it would be well with him ; and 
in this most heartily joined aunt Dorothy, whose good- 
ness was of that uncertain, impulsive nature, that neither 
she nor any one else knew in what direction her mind 
and heart would drive her. She went with the circum- 
stances around her, now religiously inclined, and anon 
moving on with the world. Her's was not the best 
model of piety, but as her pretentions were not very 
high, her influence was correspondingly trifling. Joe 
Harnden, notwithstanding his mind was weak, gave 
what he had apparently with a full heart to the Lord, 
and rejoiced in the promise of the gospel. 

" There is one thing I want to know, Joe Harnden," 
said aunt Dorothy, " and that is, if old Cap'n Bunco 
did'nt hit you a hard kick in the back that made you 
lame ?" 

" Cap'n Bunco did not kick me " 

" He did, you lie, Joe Harnden ! You know he did." 
This was uttered so quickly that the widow could not 
prevent it. Joe groaned on his bed, and tears trickled 
down his cheek. The old woman began her 

" Drum, drum, drum, 

Behold the aged sinner goes — 
Drum, drum, drum, dro, dri, dro, dri, 

Laden with guilt and 

Drum, drum, drum." 

" No," said Joe, partly turning in his bed, and fasten- 
ing his eyes on her, " Cap'n Bunco gave me a punch 
with his hand, but I told a falsehood when I said he 
kicked me. If it w^ere the last word I ever uttered, I 
would say Cap'n Bunco did not kick me." 

With his eyes still fastened on her, the old pauper 
lank back on his couch, a ghastly expression came ov 



54 NEW England's chattels ; oe, 

his face, he trembled slightly, gave a dying groan, and 
as the widow hurried to his relief, drew his last breath. 

" Joe 1" cried a voice from below : no answer. " Joe^ 
I say 1" still no answer. " Joe Harnden, have you got no 
ears, I say !" 

But no answer was returned ; only widow Prescott, 
moving on tip-toe to the head of the stairs, beckoned 
Captain Bunce to come up. Suddenly the Captain felt 
a shudder creeping all over him, as though something 
awfully serious had occurred. Stepping softly up three 
or four stairs towards her, he saw beyond, old aunt Do- 
rothy, standing like a statue, with both hands stretched 
above her head, and her eyes riveted on the bed. But 
as the blood began to run cold in his veins, the widow 
stooped dow^n and whispered through her fingers, " Joe's 
GONE 1" 

" Good heavens ! Mrs. Prescott " 

" Just breathed his last !" 

The Captain reeled and grew dizzy on the stairs. 
But directly a voice from the door opening out below, 
called him to himself." 

" Captin Bunce ! Captin Bunce 1 he's come — the doc- 
tor's here !" 

" Hurry him up, then, for God's sake, Jims ! Why in 
the world haven't you hurried along, hey ? Here's old 
Joe dying, and nobody to bleed him." 

*' I guess there arn't much blood in him," cried Jim. 
" More likely his blood's frized up into icicles. I reckon 
you'd do better to sweat him." 

Under ordinary circumstances. Captain Bunco would 
have knocked the boy down for his impudence ; but now 
he paid no attention to him. He hurried the doctor up 
etairs, who approached the bed. 

Putting his ear to the mouth of the dead man, and 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 55 

feeling his pulse carefully for a moment, he turned to 
the Captain, who stood on the stairs within three or four 
steps of the top. — ''He's gone," said he. 

" Dead !" exclaimed the Captain. 

" As lead," replied the Doctor, "^e's done I" 

"Jims!" said the Captain, going down with a very 
white face, and trembling in spite of himself, " tell the 
people that Joe Harnden's dead, and will be buried 
to-morrow." 

Harnden's last visitor was death. 



66 NEW England's chattels ; or, 



CHAPTER VI. 

" We've fifteen poor folks, lacking the last death — Joe Harnden." — Squire Ben 
Stoufs Remark. It is well to keep the Population intact, to know exactly what 
to say when the Government gets in readiness for the National Census. A cor- 
rect Census is the glory of an Administration. 

One important personage in Crampton was Benjamin 
Stout, Esquire — or Squire Ben Stout ; otherwise, and 
more universally, called Squire Ben. He was always 
head man in town affairs, and a capital manager of the 
public interests. Squire Ben was fat and easy. He 
could smoke, drink ale, and brandy as a slight change. 
He was a good joker, and a generous, hospitable, gentle- 
manly liver. First selectman of the town, he wielded a 
large influence, and enjoyed in that office, as his col- 
leagues and coadjutors, Mr. Jonas Savage and Mr. George 
Haddock. 

Now Stout and Savage went in on the same ticket ; 
Haddock, on the opposition ticket, Haddock's party 
was not a large one, though respectable men belonged 
to it. Policy led the democratic majority, who could 
make a clean sweep of every thing in Crampton, to put 
in Haddock. There w^ere some agitating matters always 
coming up in town affairs, and the minority felt easier 
and behaved better if they had a voicC; even though it 
were but as one to three or five, in the town business. 

In relation to the town paupers, these men were classi- 
fied thus : Stout and Savage for the town ; Haddock for 
the paupers. Now S. and S. really claimed that they 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 57 

were for the paupers — i, e., for their best good ; and 
they put Haddock down as a fanatic. We shall see the 
ideas which all these gentlemen entertained on the sub- 
ject, as well as their ideas in general, on morals, educa- 
tion, benevolence, crop out here and there in the pro- 
gress of our story. 

Although differences of opinion were entertained in 
the town, as to the great question of supporting the 
poor, and sundry hints were floating here and there that 
the present manner was wanting in mercy and kindness, 
and behind the age, yet the town at large was united in 
sustaining the system, and felt safe as long as Squire 
Ben and Savage were a majority of the Board. And 
they said the time had not yet come to alter a policy as 
old as " seventy-six." 

Jonas Savage, though a man of some business talent, 
was a coarse, bold, swaggering fellow. He was ignorant 
and overbearing. Really one of those uncultivated men 
that, while they know a good deal, are sharp, exert an 
influence, and can't be got rid of, you feel uncomfortable 
when they are about. Savage made his mark on every 
thing he took up. The town knew he was trustworthy 
for them. He went, on all occasions, for " retrenchment." 
Mr. Savage's idea of town expenses was, that they were 
always unnecessarily high, and he maintained as his the- 
ory, and promulgated the same in loud, long, and windy 
speeches at town-meetings, that by strict economy at 
least two per cent, of the taxes might be struck off. 
Esq. Ben. Stout was for retrenchment, but he also ear- 
nestly advocated paying up, and a thorough collecting 
of the taxes, and liquidating all the town r^harges. Mr. 
Haddock was earnest in advocating improvements, and 
for a tax sufBcient to meet every needed reform in the 
community, and for such laws and doings as were con- 
■^.istent and honorable. 



58 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

The town business requires attention. The selectmen 
must meet together and talk it up very often. So our 
Crampton officials often met and discussed the town 
affairs, town policy, and town interests. They sometimes 
grew rather heated in argument, especially when the 
rival views and parties came in decided collision. By 
appointment, we find the three gentlemen already intro- 
duced to the reader, assembled one afternoon at the 
office of Squire Ben Stout. It happened that Savage 
arrived a few minutes before Mr. Haddock, and was 
very warmly greeted by his superior, Squire Ben. 

" Did you know," said he, " I was just thinking over 
the matter — a little — and it struck me, that our last con- 
tract for the poor wasn't bad, after all. Savage, eh?" 

" I don't know," said the other, rather doggedly. 

" Why, you see, you see, Savage ; here it is, six Inin- 
drecl dollars — that's all, every cent — it ain't six fifty, or 
seventy-Jive, nor is it seven hundred ! Don't you see the 
point, eh ?" 

" Oh ! hang it, Squire, I know all that ; yes, I know 
it's but six hundred ; and yet I , that's enough !" 

Squire Ben drew a long breath as Savage struck his 
hand smartly on the old law book that lay open on the 
table before him, and looked him straight in the eye. 
Finally he said, 

" Well, it strikes me we have it about as low as it will 
bear this year, eh? Isn't it low for the present time. 
Savage ? Don't it strike you so, eh ?" 

" Why, tolerably, tolerably, but I don't think we can 
ever get it down too low ; the fact is, the taxes are un- 
conscionably high and hard. But if the Captain must 
have six hundred, we can't help it, I 'spose. They've 
got to have a living, somehow. They're a trouble, and 
an expensive sett of good-for-nothings. Hang 'em, say I." 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 59 

" As for me," said the Squire, " I had rather not have 
the responsibility of contracting for them. The town 
had better do it at the annual meeting, when they are 
all there, you know ?" 

" Altogether," said Savage, " this milk and water way, 
just to avoid selling them at auction, don't suit me ; it's 
just no way at all. Put them right up in a lot, and down 
they go to somebody, probably fifty dollars cheaper than 
when we contract in this manner." 

"/({ is the best ivay,^' said the Squire, with firmness un- 
usual. " I go for it with all my heart." 

" We could manage it easy enough," said Savage, " if 
it was not for these croaking fanatics, like Haddock and 
Phillips. They go so unmercifully for the ' Gospel,' as 
they call it, that common sense and hard times stand a 
mighty poor chance, I tell you." 

" Ha ! ha ! ha 1 Savage, you have struck out the thing 
just as it is. They are queer." 

"Queer!" 

" Ai ; that is, they — are — singular, you see." 

" Singular 1 They are confounded bores and bothera- 
tion." 

Now Squire Ben always got along by carefully picking 
his way and feeling of men. Savage was blunt, and came 
right out. He frequently " blew up" the Squire for his 
caution ; and he would have done it now, only the whole 
current of conversation was changed by the sudden ar- 
rival of Haddock himself — a stout, handsome, gentle- 
manly man — who carried a cane, was easy in his man- 
ners, frank and self-possessed. Mr. Haddock knew a 
good deal of society in general, and of his colleagues in 
particular. He was judicious withal, and very hard to 
get up a quarrel with, or to really despise and insult 
As for the Squire, he greeted him very cordially, anci 
made him take his own chair. 



60 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" Yes, of course, friend Haddock, I always do so ; 
keep it, keep it. We are glad to see you." 

" Thank you, sir ; I am glad to return the compliment." 

" How are you ?" said Savage, reaching out his hand. 

" Very well, indeed. How is your own health, sir ?" 

" First rate ; sound as a nut," said the second selectman. 

" I suppose, gentlemen, you are getting on rapidly with 
business ?" 

" Why, Haddock !" exclaimed the Squire ; " we have 
done nothing — nothing. We were just looking out for 
you, hoping you'd be on hand to help us. We are none 
too many, altogether, to manage this town's affairs. I 
am getting old and clums}^. Haddock. I can't do much, 
any how. But you and Savage, now, are just in the 
prime of life. Yes, yes — well, so it is. But — er — where 
were we. Savage ? What business were we on when 
Haddock came in ? Let's see — er — ah ! ai ! — I have it ! 
You see it strikes us, Haddock, in regard to the taxes, 
that the collector is dilatory, and ought to be pricked 
up. What do you think ?" 

Mr. Haddock wasn't posted up, he said. 

" How can we get on with town affairs, if the collector 
fails to bring in the m.oney ?" 

" That is every body's honest opinion," said Savage. 
" Now I reckon that whereas we ought to have eighteen 
hundred dollars, we shall fall short near to seventeen. 
We want to know about it — must know. We have a 
world of money to make out. There's the extra ex- 
penses, roads to be repaired injured by the great rain, 
cost of Rundel's old horse that fell through the Little 
Bear's Bridge, and extra funerals of the paupers that 
Buuce says the town ought to pay for : all these call for 
close calculation. We can't go headlong any longer. 
We must bring up somewhere ; and I think it is as well 
to do it now as by-and-bye, when we've got to.'" 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 61 

" Just SO," said Squire Ben. " It won't do to run the 
town in debt. We must get the town oat of debt, then 
we can go on." 

" That's it, that's it !" said Savage. " The town won't 
hear to any extra expenses." 

" xso, gentlemen, I agree with you," said Mr. Haddock 
*' The town don't wish a large, heavy bill brought in be- 
yond the money raised. But the town is willing to take 
just views of its own responsibilities, and guard against 
future expenses and contingencies, by timely provision. 
As, for example, it is better that the Little Bear Bridge 
should be built of stone, with an arch, though it should 
cost fifty dollars more, than of wood, with string-pieces 
and plank." 

" Well, now, I differ from that idea," said Savage. 
" The towTi can't afford to spend fifty dollars here and a 
hundred there, just for improvements. The Little Bear's 
Bridge can be put up in good, thorough shape for a hun- 
dred and fifty dollars. And who will give a job to the 
masons, and saddle a bill on the town of two hundred, 
just to have a stone arch there instead of solid old- 
fashioned timbers ? For my part, I'm satisfied with a 
plank bridge. It's good enough, if stone is better. 
What do you say, Squire ?" 

" I should think, on the whole, that the town would be 
afraid — under the circumstances of so many extras and 
abatements — to build of stone. I think we must have 
the plank bridge, Mr. Haddock, for the town is in honor 
bound to pay every thing that's lawful, and we must 
consult for the honor of the town." 

"Yes," said Mr. Haddock. "But you recollect the 
Little Bear Bridge has been swept off twice in five years, 
besides this wearing out of the plank, while the Slip- 
Slop Bridge of stone has stood without any repairs, or a 
cent of cost, ten years already." 



62 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" True enough !" said Savage. " But the Slip-Slop cost 
the town a deal of cash, and made a mighty grumbling. 
Folks said if town money was to be squandered in that 
way, every body would have to pawn his farm to pay 
taxes ; so they turned out the selectmen, you know, and 
put in a new sett." 

" That's about as it was, to be sure," said the Squire. 

" Yes, and Haddock knows it," said Mr. Savage, " Ha 1 
ha !" 

" But that is not the whole of the story," replied he. 
" I remember that when the '39 freshet swept all the 
bridges off but the arch-bridge of the Slip-Slop, and cost 
the town an extra one per cent, tax, every body was 
satisfied, and said it was money well laid out." 

" Oh ! that was merely on the excitement of the mo- 
ment," replied Savage. " The town has never voted any 
stone bridges since." 

" No, nor is it likely to, as long as some of the influ- 
ential tax payers go dead against it," said Haddock. 
" But every body knows that it is true economy to do 
things well, when they are done." 

" I go in for that," said Squire Ben, " and so does 
Savage — I dare say — only — that is — Savage is sharp and 
sees a long way ahead, hey. Savage ?" 

" Why, as for that, I ain't proud of myself, by no means. 
But I do hold that a sixpence saved is sixpence earned." 

" Ha ! ha ! ha ! I thought so," was the merry reply 
of the Squire. 

" There are tw { w^ays to save sixpences," said Mr. 
Haddock, who very well knew that it was two to one 
in all the talk of this Board, and consequently kept his 
temper whatever provocation might seem calculated to 
inflame it. " One other way is so to spend sixpences, 
that they will not need spending again very soon." 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOTl-HOUSE, 63 

"Oh, pshaw! pshaw! Haddock, jou're always for 
doing things for the town, just as you build your own 
stone walls. You don't care what money it takes, if the 
work will only stand. Now towns are different from in- 
dividuals, you see. A man can do as he pleases with his 
own matters, but the town must manage just to keep 
along from year to year — doing the iDest it can under all 
the circumstances. Ain't it so, Squire Ben ?" 

" Rather of — that is — my notion is, something so — 
something so — yes, a little so," said the Squire, throw- 
ing a side glance from the floor to Haddock, and from 
Haddock to the ceiling, and from the ceiling to Savage, 
and so resting again on the floor. Now the Squire was 
a very sensible man, and except in cases where he ])er- 
formed popular duty, he was a sort of Haddock-man him- 
self, making every thing substantial and secure. Popu- 
lar favor ! How vsmall a matter this. Yet Squire Ben 
Stout was too weak to resist it. As for Savage, he 
gloried in a set of principles that looked to popularity 
among the people as their great object. 

" I brought up the little Bear Bridge," said Haddock, 
by way, merely, of example. " You don't yield the point 
there, and probably you won't in the case of the paupers. 
Now I am of the opinion that we must adopt a more 
merciful, truly benevolent, thorough, and, in the end, 
more economical way of supporting them. I want you 
to look at it with your eyes all open, and decide as can- 
did men what we should do. Let us decide first on the 
principle. What is our duty to these poor creatures. 
What can they reasonably claim of us. Then we shall 
come easily, or at least understandingly, to the question 
of ' waj^s and means.' " 

" You want, Mr. Haddock, that the town should sad- 
dle itself with a debt of five thousand dollars or vote a 



64 NFW England's chattels : or. 

tax to meet it, just to put these old crazy coots, lying old 
devils, half of them, into a brick palace, and furnish 
waiters for them, and pay even something- to boot, in- 
stead of pursuing the present economical and humane 
course that we have followed ever since the town had a 
pauper. How, in the name of reason, C'ln you advocate 
so preposterous a plan ? It's idle. Haddock, perfectly 
idle. Five thousand dollars ! Good heavens ! Haddock, 
why, you're crazy. Do you think. Squire Ben, that 
Crampton folks will ever come to that, hey ?" 

" I consider that " 

" One minute, Squire, if you please," interrupted Mr. 
Haddock. 

" Let the Squire speak." interrupted Savage, in his 
turn. 

" Oh, to be sure, I only wanted to say " 

" Time enough to say it when Squire Ben's got through. 
This subject is a confounded bore any wa}'^ " 

" But we ought not to dodge it — we can't dodge it. 
I know," said Haddock, " that this town has got a con- 
science; and I am determined to let the town have all tlie 
light I can, to operate on that conscience. We have a 
system of pauperage that is a disgrace to us. And to 
defend and to perpetuate it is an outrage." 

Haddock was usually mild, but if he was crowded he 
could storm some as well as Savage ; as for Squire Ben, 
he never stormed. He hesitated to commit himself 
irretrievably any way — but always went with his party 
at least in hypothesis. Before Savage could reply, 
therefore. Squire Ben lifted his right foot from the 
floor, and resting it on his left knee, leaned forward with 
a finger pointing towards Haddock, as indicating the 
course of his reply, and an eye resting on Savage (who 
was ready with town retrenchment argument to over- 



111! 



t i«ff!'v'"r"!!' 



Illil iM.'iilJlilUllUii.l/L.. 1 




'You sec eenllfincn," said the Squire," the times are har.l !'' 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOP-HOUSE. 65 

whelm Haddock) as if he were the party to profit by his 
observations, and said at once — 

" The town, Haddock, is one thing, conscience is an- 
other thing, and — we know it — we all understand ifl; — 
the poor another, or a third thing. Now, we must take 
care of the poor. That's principle — ain't it. Mr. 
Savage ?" 

" Sartain," said Savage. 

" Just so," said Squire Ben. " We must do that thing. 
And so conscience and principle go together. Now we 
— don't need, Haddock, any — that is, any considerable — 
more light on that point you see — for we are all posted 
up — square up on the point of duty and principle — 
morals and religion, and so forth. Now the next great 
question is, tJie money .'" 

" That's it, that's it, by thunder !" said Savage—" the 
money." 

" Well, there's money enough," said Haddock, " where 
there's a will." 

" But there ain't a will," fiercely said Savage. 

" You see, gentlemen," said the Squire, " the times arc 
hard /" 

" Cursedly hard !" said Savage. 

" They are hard on the paupers, I know," said Had- 
dock. 

" Well, gentlemen, consider," said the Squire, " that 
the town must pay as it goes along. Now it is just as 
much as the voters will come up to, to raise a poor tax 
of four per cent. That's the most we've ever got ; and 
that gives us eight hundred. Now we've fifteen poor 
folks, lacking the last death — Joe Harnden — and winter's 
at hand, when there'll be, probably, four or five more, 
and some half-pays about town in families. It — seems 
to me, gentlemen — that — our course of duty lies just 



66 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

here. Hem ! I think we should tell Bunce to give the 
paupers an extra allowance of cider in winter, a little 
more fire, a good substantial dinner of cheapish sort of 
food — of course ?" 

" Of course !" said Savage. 

" And see that they have doctoring — some religious 
ceremonies ; in a word, all necessary and suitable care : 
for the poor devils can't, you know, Haddock — now you 
know that, don't you? — caiiH, I say, take care of them- 
selves, and so try to brush off the bad spots of the thing 
as much as possible — and — and — " 

" Let 'em slide," said Savage. 

" Well, not exactly ; yes, something so. Give it a 
good, humane setting out, and keep easy afterwards 
— for," said he, shaking his finger portentously, and 
changing feet and knees, " the town won't be at the 
damage of any great reform." 

" No, I s r !" said Savage. " The system is a reli- 
gious and humane one. Captain Bunce told me that 
the old widow Prescott kept the establishment as moral 
as a church, and that her prayers were enough to save 
the whole concern from ruin, nere and hereafter ; and 
that as for himself, he never felt more softened and hu- 
manely inclined, than when he saw the poor old creatures 
looking up to him for all their daily bread." 

" Captain Bunce," said the Squire, " is a very good 
sort of a man, take him — all in all. Sometimes Bunce 
is rather too snug in his management, perhaps — very 
humane people would say so ; but we must judge men 
by the long run, and Cap'n Bunce has had the job now 
going five years. Bunce knows how to manage them, 
all things considered — as well — for the town as we could 
reasonably expect." 

" How long is it since you looked in there, Squire 
Stout?" inquired Mr. Haddock. 



LIFE IN THE NORrHERN POOK-HOUSE. 67 

" Well — whe — w Let's see, Savage. Didn't we 

drop in there — last — Sep — tern — or was it — ?" 

" D d if I know !" said that worthy. 

" We called, I'm sure. Savage, last summer ; it might 
have been a little earlier, or a little later. It don't make 
much difference." 

" Well, I don't recollect calling since a year ago last 
fall," said Savage. " But what's the odds ? Bunce takes 
all proper care of them ; and it always gives me a sort 
of melancholy to see the critturs. They are a blasted 
sickly set, not long for this world at best, and a plaguey 
deal better off when out of it than in. But there it is. 
They are what they are, and can never be any thing 
else. Now what's the use, I say, of spending money, or 
even philanthropy, over the lot, when neither will do 
any good ? They are paying up for past sins. They'd 
been a good deal better off if they hadn't sinned." 

Mr. Haddock answered that, in his opinion, a great 
deal might be done to improve their condition even where 
they now were. They might have better clothing, food, 
rooms, fires, companionship or association ; pursue a 
more desirable mode of daily exercise or labor, and be 
elevated, instructed, comforted, and prepared the better 
to live and to die. That here, as in other towns he had 
heard of, an entirely different system might be pursued, 
which would consist in placing the poor under the con- 
stant and humane care of the town agent, and avoid the 
sin and shame of knocking them down, as so many cat- 
tle, at auction, to any body who thought, by pinching 
them in every possible way, he might make a little 
money out of the job. " Nobody," he continued, will 
bid them off on the score of humanity, but always are 
they bid off on grounds of selfish considerations. A 
man bids on them to make money in keeping them — that 



68 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

is, in half starving', half clothing, half warming them ; 
half burying them when they, fortunately for him, drop 
off. Now, gentlemen," he continued, " do you call that 
a Christian institution — ^a house of mercy and Christian 
humanity ? Has it one solitary vestige of philanthropy ? 
If yourselves were paupers, would it be a comfortable 
thing to live and die as Harnden did — as others have 
done, and still are doing ? Where is it better than sla- 
very itself in many of its daily forms ? What feature in 
it can truly meet the cordial approval of a good man 
of even common Christian views or humane principles ?" 

Squire Ben, and even Savage himself, listened atten- 
tively to Haddock's remarks, and confessed that there 
was more truth than fiction in them, but solemnly declared 
that the thing could not b^ helped. 

" Well, gentlemen," said Mr. Haddock, " I have con- 
sulted with some men about it, and although at present 
we are few, yet we intend to persevere in an attempt to 
ameliorate the condition of our paupers. No system of 
tyranny and oppression resting in human selfishness can 
stand right in human consciences, nocis it right in the 
sight of God. These poor creatures have a claim on us 
to smooth their path to the grave. We owe it to our 
enlightened humanity and religion to make such a pro- 
vision for our poor, that it may truly be termed a Chris- 
tian beneficence. Every other thing is simply oppression 
or tyranny." 

The Squire and Savage told Mr. Haddock that his sen- 
timents spoke well for his heart, but that the project 
was perfectly chimerical. 

" When the Little Bear runs up stream. Haddock, 
you'll get the thing through, and not afore," said Savage. 

" Gentlemen," said the Squire, " let us — drop in at the 
hotel and take a sling — what do you say — Savage — Had- 
dock, a sling, or ale — hey?" 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 69 

Mr. Haddock said he did not drink intoxicating liquors, 
and "\vislied heartily they would follow his " example." 
Mr. Savage took a sling on principle. He thought it 
wrong to decline an invitation from one man, and accept 
from another — it looked selfish and partial. Squire Ben 
seldom drank any thing but ale, (and little of that,) but 
'■ town-business" always " wore on him," and his educa- 
tion had led him to put confidence in invigorating bev- 
erages at such times ; they spurred up the system to its 
full energy, and, in his case, always seemed to possess 
the exact virtues of a tonic. 

The selectmen adjourned their session, and the pau- 
pers of Crampton remained at Bunce's. 



70 NEW ENGLAND'S CHATTELS ; OR, 



CHAPTER VII. 

The Haddocks. 

An hour had not passed after Harnden's departure, 
before a gentleman on horseback rode up to the poor- 
house, and pulling up as he saw some of the people in 
the yard, exclaimed, *' Good morning all, good morning I 
It's a fine cold air to-day." 

" It's ruther too cold for a Carolina nigger like Bill, 
there," responded a gruff old fellow in a tattered drab 
coat and a slouching apology for a hat. 

" Bill don't care fur dat two lo v^ies. When I wms in de 
West Indies wid massa Col. Rathburn, the weather make 
no diff'rence wad Bill ; hot and cold all like, so guess Bill 
can stand a little snap like a dis October grit, without 
much a grumble." 

" Bill's pluck," screamed a wasted hag on the chips, 
whose garments were sadly torn and soiled, and whose 
face was wrinkled and disfigured. "Bill's pluck!" 
screamed she, " he's none of your craven, chicken- 
blooded scamps like Dan Barnes." 

" Mind your lying tongue, Mag, or I'll heave at you !" 
retorted the grufi" old fellow who first spoke, balancing 
a brick in his hand. 

" Hold up ! hold up, my good people," said the stran- 
ger, " no cause of quarrel here — why get up one ? Bet- 
ter be on good terms." 

" Dan wants his grog," shouted the hag, and just then 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 71 

the heavy brick went whizzing over her head, and tore 
off the bark of a tree, which, luckily for Mag, it encoun- 
tered instead of her form. Before he could repeat it, 
she leaped to her feet, and rushed behind the house. 
The stranger dismounted, determined to stop the affray. 

" This won't do, Dan ; we shan't allow it, you know 
better," said he, " than to flare up in this manner ; you 
might have killed her with that brick." 

" Wish to I had," grumbled he, " she'd gone then 

with Joe to 'tother world." 

" Joe I" said the stranger, in an inquiring and surprised 
way. 

"Yes, old Joe Harnden." 

" What of him ? What's he doing ?" 

" They're laying him out, now — you knew Joe was 
dead and gone ?" 

The stranger turned away with a surprised and sor- 
rowful expression towards the house. Directly he en- 
countered a slovenly looking boy, grown out of his pants 
very nearly, with no hat on his head, and his long hair 
dangling uncombed over his neck and ears. The boy 
made a low bow and stopped. 

" It's too late, sir, Joe's gone too," said he. 

" Jims," said Mr. Haddock, for it was he, " why did 
you not run over and inform me of his sickness ?" 

" I was going tur ; but, you see, the Cap'n sent me to 
git the doctor, and Joe died so thunderin' quick there 
warn't no time ; it's the way, you know, with the poor 
folks !" 

Mr. Haddock groaned as he stood over the body of 
the departed one, meditating on that life of sorrow, sin, 
and disappointment, now ended in the society and under 
the roof of paupers. And he said to his wife on his re- 
turn home, " Once, Joe Harnden would have knocked a 



72 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

man down who told him he would die in any other con- 
dition than that of those who deem themselves worthy 
of the best lots in Greenwood or Mount Auburn. See, 
in his case, the work of intemperance and ' fast living.' 
It is a terrible life they pass, too, in the poor-house ; it 
is sad and wretched in the extreme — still, we must not 
give them up." 

" Oh, no," said she ; " let us hope to benefit them in 
some form, and especially that the public mind will, by- 
and-bye, be aroused to reform these places, and give the 
poor a more proper care. I do think there will yet be 
a change in Crampton." 

As for the paupers, they must be classed as among 
the rubbish of this w^orld's humanity. They have no 
property; few relations and friends, have feeble consti- 
tutions and poor health, very little ambition, less calcu- 
lation ; the lines of their faces show no beauty, nor their 
forms symmetry or grace. They look out of ugly eyes, 
they breathe a hateful atmosphere, are ragged, uncouth, 
and are often very vicious and sinful. Well, there they 
are. You must look at them. See what a piece of bro- 
ther humanity can come to. Reflect that these disagree- 
able beings are in this degeneracy by reason, mainly, of 
outside pressure. Originally, they had a good start ; 
but they fell behind in the life-race, and finally pitched 
headlong into the great slough of Poverty. Here they 
are — so poor, so poverty-stricken, that they are ashamed 
of themselves ; cringing, ragged, fearful creatures. But 
they owe it to poverty that they are so despicable now. 
They might retain the same souls ; if their bodies were 
better clothed, they would pass for better stuff. It 
seems to be an outside pressure, in more senses than 
one, that they go into the pauper class. And what a 
class ! Very well, there they are. Now consider them 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 73 

uctually despised, and as far as possible, forgotten and 
neglected. We want the line drawn fairly between 
them and the rich, and to show them most grudgingly 
supported, and no concealment of the grudge. Now if 
we can't easily love that which is in itself no longer 
lovely and loveable, ive may truly pity and befriend it. 
And this is duty, especially if applied to man. The suf- 
fering and the poor we ought to relieve, and so put in 
our relief that it will not only gladden, but elevate the 
subjects of it. If we do this, we show that we work for 
the poor out of real principle, from true pity, not to say 
love. 

But these paupers seem, and they are, a forbidding 
class of men and women to work on. We must be very 
charitable indeed, or we shall fail of doing them any real 
good. They represent the great idea of want, or pov- 
erty. There they are in the clutches of poverty. Now 
consider the case and decide for thyself, reader, if duty 
does not lie towards them in the shape of help and en- 
couragement, instead of neglect and contempt. 

The inhabitants of Crampton knew, in general, less 
about the condition of their town-paupers than they did 
about the slaves of South Carolina, or the Sepoys in In- 
dia. Those they read about ; their town-paupers they 
left in the care of the "overseers" or selectmen. 

Still, we should give credit where it belongs. There 
were persons who pitied them, and endeavored to do 
them service, and who sought to change the manner of 
their public support. We need hardly say that such 
an one was Mr. Haddock, who was one of those open- 
hearted, generous souls, that if he saw any body suffer- 
ing in his power to relieve him, would go about it at 
every cost to himself. He never stopped to ask if a 
man was rich or powerful, or poor and tminfluential ; if 

4 



74 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

he could relieve him, he at once attempted it. He lived 
not far from the poor-house, and often went over there 
to inquire how they got along. 

So Mrs. Haddock was a lady of rare qualities of mind 
and heart. She was a sincere Christian, a pure-minded 
philanthropist, agreeing with her husband in all his 
benevolent plans, and to the utmost of her ability, help- 
ed them on. She was a lady of dignity and beauty, with 
great sweetness of character and energy of mind. Her 
views of duty were as clear as the light, and her decisions 
formed with surprising quickness, because her standard 
was the word of God, But the gentleness of woman 
shone through all her actions, things visionary, forward, 
bold, and absurd, forming no part of her excellent 
character, and commanding no attention or sacrifice of 
her womanly dignity and loveliness. They had three 
agreeable and very intelligent daughters, Frances, Ellen, 
and Sarah, and Mrs. Haddock took the highest interest 
in the formation of their characters. Her aim was to 
cultivate in them a correct idea and sincere love of bene- 
volence. She desired them to possess an earnest com- 
passion for the poor and suffering, and to have it for a 
great aim in life to do good- -not merely because there 
might be those who needed their kind offices, but for 
good's own sake, from a principle of goodness. Then 
she knew that artificial character, and spasmodic exhi- 
bitions of goodness would form no part of their mature 
development. In the main, she was successful. The 
girls were remarkable for system, thoroughness, true 
taste, excellent discrimination in their " charities," and 
for a judgment that very earl}^ distinguished them from a 
great many giddy heads and would-be-fashionable young 
ladies around them. They were not very handsome 
girls, but they were decidedly agreeable ; and they were 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 75 

positively propossessing to many who professed to be 
good judges of beauty, but who declared it impossible 
to say whether they were handsome, or for some other 
cause attractive and winning. They had so many agree- 
able ways with them, people were so much pleased with 
their conversation, that it was almost impossible not to 
feel that, inasmuch as many look for beauty in females 
to interest them, they must be after all, very handsome 
young ladies ! 

It was well for the poor of Crampton that this family be- 
friended them ; that under all circumstances they could 
rely on their sympathy. Mr. and Mrs. Haddock lament- 
ed the condition the paupers were in, and the want of 
active and sympathetic labor in their behalf. It did not 
seem to them necessary that they should be kept in a 
manner at once disgraceful to the town, and mortifying 
and painful to themselves. They could see no good 
reason Avhy there should be an unwillingness to provide 
for at least their conditional elevation. 

" AVhy should they not be comfortable also ?" inquired 
Mr. Haddock, "why always kept in a state of abjectmisery, 
subject to every human trial that such a state supposes, 
and of which it is the fruitful parent ? Why not be re- 
spectably clothed, comfortably fed, and warmly housed ? 
Why not put to suitable employment, and when they 
are sick, in want of assistance, why should they not en- 
joy the attendance of physicians, and the care of a 
nurse ?" 

They frequently brought up the subject in their 
family, and made it a topic of conversation with their 
neighbors. And living near to Captain Bunco, Mr. 
Haddock not unfrequently called on him, and visited 
the poor. Sometimes he had a little work that he would 
offer them ; occasionally some blind, lame, or feeble re- 



76 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

presentative of the poor-house would stray away to his 
premises, leaning on a rough staff, and Mrs. Haddock 
seldom permitted such a visitor to go away without a 
good bit of the breakfast or dinner that had been pre- 
pared for her own household. 

If Mrs. Haddock or her daughters discovered any of 
the paupers needing warmer clothing, they w^ould do all 
in their power to supply their wants. Still, it was often 
difficult to render as much relief as the charitable feel- 
ing prompted, for they were " Captain Bunce's people," 
and he occasionally resented all " interference," as he 
termed it, with his plans. He was on the best of terms 
with Mr. Haddock, but now and then he would fly in a 
passion, and say that Haddock and his wife were " hu- 
moring the ^patients' to death, and making them uneasy 
and mightily particular." Moreover, the manner of 
supporting the Crampton paupers was bad for their 
morals. They had little or no good instruction, ex- 
ample or motive. They were neglected and despised. 
If any were intemperate and vicious, very little restraint 
was ever used to correct their ways, so that it was not 
always safe to bestow your charities upon them, and was 
always discouraging. There were among them those 
who would not hesitate to pawn a coat, or a dress, a 
piece of meat, or even the Bible, for a small bottle of 
rum, or for a little tobacco. There were some of this 
class improvident, rough, saucy, wicked. All were not 
so. Some were truly virtuous persons, who had been 
brought into circumstances of poverty by afflictions and 
misfortunes that they themselves could not avoid. ^Vnd 
there were others who were simple, weak in body and 
mind, their wants few, their condition never a very ele- 
vated one, never lower than now. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 77 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Beep for the Paupers. " He that considereth the poor, lendeth to the Lord." 
The immense deposits of virtuous credits laid up by a great many stock-towns in 
New England, of and for their regard for the Poor, it will take a good while in 
the next world to estimate. 

" I WILL go over and pay Captain Bunce a visit," said, 
or thought, Mr. Savage, as he counted over, for the twen- 
tieth time, a stock of salt provisions in his cellar, con- 
sisting of sundry portions of beef A, I ; beef A, II ; beef 
A, III, C. B. ; salt beef, long since packed, and waiting 
a favorable turn in the market for a cash transaction. 
" A, I," represented lot of first packed beef — a lot of pro- 
visions bought on speculation, selected a long time back 
from the butcher's slaughterings, and made up of neck 
pieces, shanks, and their side bits, rather dark, bloody, 
and tough, this was " A, number 07ie." " A, number tivo,'' 
represented a more recent purchase of similar provisions, 
longer packed. It was beef "A." In this respect it re- 
sembled " number one." But the honest severity of the 
speculator led him to designate it as " number two, A," 
which carried the appearance of prime " A" beef as to 
time, inferior only in the reasonable item of quality. 
As for " A, III, C. B.," the brand itself represented good 
beef, of third choice as to the cuts, inspectedbeef of good 
number three brand. But " A, III, C. B.," was really 
the owner's private mark on the barrel, by means of it 
he read as follows : " A barrel of three qualities of meat, 
one pa,rt being poor enough, another part poorer, and . 



78 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

third part the poorest salt meat in market. " " C. B." 
What do these letters represent, branded boldly on the 
head of the barrel? C. B. ! They may stand for the 
name of the owner by whom the beeves were fatted and 
driven to market for slaughter, a good and honorable 
mode of pledging the article now under salt and brine. 
" C. B !" Yes, truly ; they may simply convey the idea 
of Corned Beef, a good and delicious article for a stout 
and hungry man to dine on ; or they may be the initials 
of Cash Beef, bought for cash, worth the cash, to be sold 
for cash ; or they may contain an idle boast, CanH he Beat 
beef, that you know about as soon as you see it ! But in 
Mr. Savage's nomenclature they simply denoted Cast 
Beef, i. e., beef that came to salt in consequence of an 
unfortunate termination of life, by a sort of suicide on 
the part of the animal himself, rolling down into a posi- 
tion that he might have known would kill him before 
help could arrive in the morning. Criminal Beef, there- 
fore. Cursed Beef — but who cares w^hat it is, or what it 
is not? It has a fair brand, " A, III, C. B.," call it beef, 
worked off — for — cas — h, which is smoother than cas — t. 
*' I will go over and see Bunco," said, or soliloquized the 
owner. "He can use this stuff; it is doubtful about 
selling to "Wallace, the merchant, at any price. His cus- 
tomer's won't buy it, and it won't bear a very tall recom- 
mendation any where. That's so. But the folks at 
Bunco's, what do they care? They'll like it, I reckon. 
It was good once, bad as it is now, and if Bunco buys it, 
why of course they'll eat it, and for aught I know, will 
be confoundedly thankful for it. ' People musn't starve 
in this free and fertile country. No, no. Let them live 
and be merry, say I. Yes, I'll go over and bargain off 
this lot — let us see. Lot A, I, two barrels. Lot A, 11, 
three barrels. Lot A, III, C. B., i. e., can't bless it, ha! 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 79 

ha ! ha ! Nice lot, that — two barrels. In all, seven bar- 
rels — I'll go right off, for the beef has evidently seen its 
best days, and won't improve by storage." 

" Where now, Mr. Savage ?" inquired his wife, " don't 
you see the dinner is just ready ; are you going away 
before dinner, eh?" 

" Yes, hang the dinner, wife. I have been ruminating 
over that villainous meat down stairs, till the very idea 
of corned beef is sickening. I am bent on getting it oif 
my hands. Don't you think Bunce will like it for the 
poor folks, eh ?" 

"Well, why not, now? That's what I have thought 
on a dozen times. Yes, they'll do well with it." 

" What's it worth, wife ?" 

" All you can get, I'll venture." 

" Seven dollars ?" 

" Seven dollars !" 

" Yes." 

" No, Mr. Savage, it is not worth seven dollars. You 
can buy the best for nine and ten, you know." 

" I guess it'll bring six, won't it ?" 

" No, if you sell it for five dollars, Mr. Savage, you'll 
be a lucky man, my word for it." 

" Well, I shall sell it for what I can get. As for 
storing it longer in my cellar I won't. I'll work it off on 
Bunce or somebody, if I get but three dollars a hundred 
for it. Why, it has got awfully bad the last month." 

" Sell it, sell it, Mr. Savage — or give it away." 

" Give it away !" 

" Yes, if you can't sell it." 

" Oh, nobody will want it as a gift, must sell it if I get 
rid of it. I'll work it off at some. price — and the higher 
we put it the more we'll get. So good-bye." 

Captain Bunce was thinking what he should do next 



80 NEW ENGLAND S CHATTELS ; OR, 

with his stock of poor folks to supply them with pro- 
visions not too substantial and costly, when he was sur- 
prised and delighted by a call from Mr. Savage, one of 
the overseers, between whom and himself there was a 
complete understanding as to expenses for the pau- 
pers. Now Sav^age had no thought of doing anything 
for the poor on the town, except what might be deemed 
absolutely necessary to preserve their lives ; as for 
comfort, cleanliness, improvement, and the like, these 
never entered into his calculations. " Pinch them all 
you can, and then pinch them a little more," was his 
motto. Capt. Bunco was glad, I say, to see him, because 
sure that he would be able to help him in his dilemma, 
and endorse his plans. 

The conversation between these worthies led forth- 
with to the subject uppermost in their minds. 

" You have a good many to feed. Captain Bunco." 

" About tw^enty ; you see the cold has driven in 
some." 

" They are a hard set of folks, ain't they though ?" 

" A bad lot, Mr. Savage ; spoiled by indulgence and 
luxury." 

" The overseers know about it, Cap'n ; they know 
you've a task to provide for them, and to clothe and 
warm them, and all that thing. Yes, they consider these 
matters, and really sympathize with you a great deal." 

" Ah !" said the Captain, " they don't now ?" and he 
drummed with his foot. 

"Yes," said Mr. Savage, " ' a great deal,' that is, Capt'n, 
they think you're a plaguy sight too lenient with them, 
and put yourself too much out to comfort them." And 
Mr. Savage rubbed his knee wuth his left hand, and 
scratched his temple with the forefinger of his right. 

" It is impossible to please everybody," replied the 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 81 

Captain, " and if I err on the side of humanity— and the 
Board dislike it, why then, I must bear it, though I 
could wish to keep in with them." 

" Never fear, Capt'n Bunce ; the Board put the great- 
est confidence inyou— all things considered— only they've 
an idea or two that might do you good if you under- 
stood." 
"Yes?" 

" To be sure. You see. Captain, the fact is, the Board 
know that you are the right man to manage these folks, 
and that you are as indulgent and careful of them as of 
your own limbs. In fact we are afraid you'll lose mone j 
—and iliat you can't afford to. The Board don't want 
you to do that, you know !" 

" Of course not," said the Captain. 
" Of course," said Savage in reply. " Now as winter 
comes on, and they'll want more clothes, and more cider, 
and more of this, that and the other— a mighty fuss they 
make about nothing— the Board hope you'll be judicious, 
and not run behind hand, by being quite too lavish." 
" Of course," said Bunce. 

" Yes," said the other, " we understand this matter. 
The Board think you'll gain it by dosing pretty stiff 
with hard cider, which is a cheap drink, and they all 
like it, you know ?" 
"Very true." 

"Yes, very," said Savage. "Then they think that 
you xnight burn a little cheaper sort of fuel— more brush, 
soggy wood, old knots, chips, and so forth, and blaze 
away at little expense, but with quite a comfortable fire. 
You see they're a cold-blooded, shivery sort of folks, and 
fire goes as far as food with them. 

" A good deal further," said Bunce, " it don't make 
much difference with them what they eat, if it's hot, and 

4* 



82 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

if they have a heating fire.' So I reckon soup, hot soup, 
made of anything that's decent, you know " 

" Just so," said Savage — " and a good blaze, are about 
all they want." 

" Well, I'll be hanged, Capt'n, if that ain't about my 
idea on the point. Cheap food, well cooked, is as good 
for them as dear food, especially if it ain't half done, you 
know." 

" I want just now to find a lot of something for them. 
I've run out a lot of dull codfish that Wallace furnished 
me, and " 

"^ I wonder. Captain Bunce, if you couldn't afford to 
go in for them, a little lot of my stock beef, stored in 
my cellar ; a small lot, not over dear — in fact I'll sell it 
cheap." 

" Beef, you say ?'' 

" Ai, beef." 

" Well — I rather think — but I don't know, to be sure, 
that you wouldn't want too much for it." 

" I want all it's worth, Capt'n, but I have got more 
than I want for my own family — and to say the truth, it 
is rather a hard lot of meat, and we don't eat much of it 
at our house. But what of that ? There it is for sale 
cheap." 

" Then you don't ask full market price for it ?" 

" Not at all, not at all, no, no, Captain, not at all." 

" And what discount do you make on it, eh ?" 

" I'll sell it low — I will now, depend on't. What 
should you say. Captain Bunce, were I to put it down 
three dollars below the market, eh? Yes, sir — three 
dollars !" 

" And call it seven ?" 

" Ai, seven. How does that strike you, eh?" 

i( T " 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 83 

" You see, Captain, it is solid, full weiglit, and will 
last like an old family Bible. One barrel will keep the 
whole company a month, and eat it all the time. I 
never saw such beef. You see it is home fed — none of 
your western, stringy, distillery fed stuff— not at all, 
but regular pack-beef, prime." 

" Not mess — of course," said the Captain. 
" Why, no, of course not ; mess is worth twelve dol- 
lars, cash. But this little lot is good, prime beef. It 
ain't the best of pieces, we all know — and is a little 
old, hard, but three dollars off, you know, eh, Captain ? 
And just the thing for your people. You see it comes 
handy for you just as winter sets in, a tough winter com- 
ing on, and prices of food going right up. I will put it 
at seven for the lot, eh ?" 

" I dare say it is cheap," said Captain Bunce, " but I 
am rather afraid of tough beef, for the folks are a little 
lame in the jaws, you know, being oldish, and fond of 
slosh." 

" Ha! ha ! ha ! Captain, good, not bad. But the beef 
is nourishing, though rather stiff, and once down it an- 
swers all purposes, and nobody knows or cares whether 
it's first chop, and tender, or not — and it saves lots of 
money." 

" The beef, Mr. Savage, will answer, I dare say, but 
you and I know it is tough." 

" Why, yes, Capt'n, it is ; but then it is so d 

cheap, you know ?" 

" ril think of it, Mr. Savage, yes, I will," and the Cap- 
tain put his hands in deep in his pantaloons pockets. 

" Think of it !" 

" You know one wants a little time to think of the 
matter. But I'll make you an offer. You say there ar< 
three or four barrels ?" 



84 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" Yes, I should think so." And Savage counted them 
over three or four times on his fingers to be sure of it. 
" Yes, there are three, certain," said he — and after a 
pause he added, " I won't swear but there's a trifle more." 

" Well, Savage, I'll take the lot on six months at six 
dollars." 

" Oh, ho ! Captain. Hang your ' six.' You know it's 
dog-cheap at seven. Take it at seven, and feed 'em on 
it till they're fat as bucks. The Board will like it, I 
know. Fact is, you took the gang fifty dollars under, 
and every body knows it. Now you must buy cheap, and 
buy the right sort, or you'll come out sold, eh ? I want 
to help you all I can — call it seven and it's yours, eh?" 

" Savage, you are a little heavy on me. I want the 
meat, but seven is not cheap for it. No. You say there 
are three barrels — I wish there warn't but two, now I 
do, on my honor. I'll tell you. Savage, what I'll do — 
give me two barrels, * A, I,' at seven, and keep the bal- 
ance to yourself." 

"Pshaw, now Capt'n, what's two barrels of beef in 
your family ? Ha ! ha ! ha ! You want the entire lot. 
I can't sell A, I, and keep the other. Now that wouldn't 
do at all." 

" Well, I say. Savage, I'll take the lot at six fifty, six 
months." 

" Six fifty," soliloquized the other, " six fifty, too con- 
founded low, too bad, tremendous discount — can't, can't 
stand it. It's a bad spec, I vow — six f-i-f-t-y — w-h-e-w" — 

" Well," interrupted Captain Bunce, " what do you 
say, Savage ; it's all FU give you for the grizzly stuff if 
you ponder over it for a month. What say you ?" 

" You shall have it — yes — let it go. Take it, Bunce, 
and feed your folks on it till they're as strong as stags. 
Fact is, they will draw heavy on you if you don't buy 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 85 

cheap. Board think you are too easy with them, and 
will run behind if you keep them too well. You shall 
have the beef." 

" Agreed," says BuLce, " four barrels at the outside ?" 

" One, two, three, four — there's certainly four, I don't 
swear to the barrels," and Savage counted over his fin- 
gers again and again. " But more or less, take it at your 
own offer, six fifty, six months." 

" I'll take it," said Captain Bunce. 

" And now," said the second selectman, " you know 
these poor devils will die off pretty fast, any way, so 
you'd better get the doctor to call once in a while, and 
take a little blood from some of them, and give a little 
mercury and ipecac, and paregoric or rhubarb. It will 
look humane. And so," said he in a whisper, " now and 
then call in Parson Rowland or Rector Evans to give the 
folks a religious Bible-talk. It will have a grand effect. 
Captain. Every body. Haddock, and all, will feel satis- 
fied that you do every thing in your power, for both 
body and soul of the wretches. Esq. Ben and I think 
you do too much for them now, and you had better be 
careful not to overfeed them — as you have done some- 
times — because. Captain, you can't afford to be too gen- 
erous." 

After this Mr. Savage left, and Captain Bunce fell to 
ruminating over his past conduct towards the paupers. 
He eventually became rather sober and melancholy, a 
little absent-minded, and curt in his manners, insomuch 
that the folks noticed it, and made sundry comments on 
his actions. 

•' He is thinking of poor Harnden, I think," said the 
widow, " of his sorrowful death, and I hope it will be 
blessed to him." 

" More likely he is thinking of his own sins, and is 



86 NEW e>}gland's chattels ; OK, 

justly alarmed," said Alanson Boyce, the State pauper, 
who was sustained at this institution according to the 
statute law of the State, at a sum " not exceeding one 
dollar" per week. Alanson, whatever he once had been 
— and that we shall have time to speak of by-and-bye — 
was now a forlorn being, impotent, poor to the last de- 
gree, who, in his poverty, wandering here and there, fell 
into the hands of the authorities of Crampton, and he 
became a State charge. When he dies, his funeral 
charges, which the common law of the States fixes at six 
dollars — not exceeding that, and as much less as you 
please — will go into the bill against the Commonwealth. 

" The Captain's had seas of trouble," said colored Bill, 
one of the paupers, who worked a little in the fields, cut 
up wood at the door, took some care of the cows, horses, 
and young cattle ; and when moving about was seen 
bare-headed, and often bare-footed, under all skies, and 
in all seasons. His red flannel sleeves cropped out at 
his elbows, and at every other convenient loop-hole ; 
and when he was without a coat, his cord suspenders 
showed the service they rendered his patched and tat- 
tered breeches. 

Bill was a clever, simple person, of a decided color, 
being a regular importation from Africa — a West India 
slave, belonging to Colonel Rathburn. When the Colo- 
nel came to America, and settled in a romantic, beautiful 
spot in Crampton, Bill accompanied him, and had his 
freedom given him — poor soul ! — as though he were not 
entitled to it, all the Colonel Rathburns in the country 
notwithstanding — all the laws and customs of men and 
nations to the contrary notwithstanding : Ms freedom 
given him! Who gave it? God, his Maker. Who 
took it away — Colonel Bathhurn? Yes, Colonel Rath- 
burn bought him, soul and body, and worked him in the 



LIFE IN THE NOETHEEN POOE-HOUSE. 87 

West Indies, and brought him to America, and there he 
also conferred on him here the honor of freedom ! So 
Bill having two good titles to liberty — viz., one on the 
part of his Maker, and the other on the part of Colonel 
Rathburn — was a man of some consequence. He lived 
in the family till the Colonel died, and until his wife 
died and the children had spent the estate. Two of 
them died in great want and disgrace. Bill was their 
chief helper for a long time, fairly earning money by 
day's work to support them in their great destitution. 
He was now old and feeble. His hair was thin and gray. 
He Avore a serious, solemn look, and said but few words. 
He could hoe a little, pick up stones, cut a little brush 
for the fire, wait on Mrs. Bunce and the family, (and all 
white people are fond of having a negro do chores for 
them, because negroes are very deferential, and so well 
seem to know their inferior position !) But he is old, is 
rather stiff, often cold, of little real use, of little personal 
comfort. Bill may not last long. There's many a worse 
man than he. He is never hateful, selfish, or clamorous ; 
never in any body's way ; never sports with the unfor- 
tunate. He really does to others all the good he can, 
knowing from his own experience that this is a " troub- 
lous world." Bill speaks kindly and sorrowfully to poor 
reduced white people, for he knows that they must suffe 
much to be brought down from an easy and a high posi- 
tion in life to such a state of want as is indicated by the 
poor-house. 

" Yes," says Bill, " the Captain's had seas of trouble ; 
I don't wonder he's sort'er sad and down at the mouth. 
Who wouldn't be ?" 

Aunt Dorothy, smoking her pipe, and leaning on her 
staff, shook her old sides as she laughed and shouted — 
" The Captain's thinking of my blessing, I guess ; don't 
you, aunt Prescott ? ha, ha !" 



88 NEW EXGLAND S CHATTELS ; OR, 

In tins group of paupers there is Dan Barnes, an old 
man of sixty-five, with a firm, iron-like constitution, of 
late somewhat shaken by his excessive intemperance, 
the besetting sin of a life-time. He is coarse, brutal and 
ugly. Ten years of his precious probation, he has pass- 
ed in the State Prison, by his assiduous attention to 
business there, materially lessening the expenses of his 
sojourn in that quiet institution, though learning there 
no valuable lessons to apply in his individual practice 
outside. He is a hard fellow, being an old fighter and 
swearer, but shiftless and thriftless — a starving old pau- 
per at the last. There is hardly a more unblushing vil- 
lain, a more desperate character than he, only that being 
nearly three-score-and-ten, and broken up somewhat by 
a life of extraordinary forage on society, and collision 
with conscience, as Avell when out of as when in the 
quarters furnished him by the State, he cannot execute 
all the wickedness that is in him. He will practice it 
out more perfectly, as is supposed, when he gets into 
the prison house, which favors uneasy souls in acting 
out character, i. e., perfect character — a character that 
here, by reason of some moral and social relations, they 
find it a little difficult to make as transparent as they 
could humbly wish. Maugre all this, it is fearful to have 
him about — to hear his coarse jests, listen to his foolish 
speeches and songs, his oaths and obscenity. It is one 
of the objections to a life at the poor-house, that Dan is 
one of its regular inmates — so thinks old aunt Dorothy 
— the widow Prescott even, with all her goodness and 
charity ; the young, half-witted Roxy Waldins and 
squalid Mag Davis. So thought once old Joe Harnden. 
Even colored Bill dislikes him ; and Jims, the boy, hates 
him as he hates salt pork when it is sweet, and coming 
but once in a week, fails to go round 1 " C the 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOJSE. 89 

pork," says Jims on such uneasy occasions. Alas ! that 
the imprecation should have a reflex influence more 
direful than its direct. In like manner even, Mrs. Joanna 
Dodge, the old lady in a red cotton handkerchief for her 
head dress, and the lame, staff-using widow Rice, and 
tall Ebenezer Cowles, ruined by hard drink, and Brige, 
the old shoe-maker of Crampton. 

And even old Joe Tucker and Polly his wife, and all 
the others wish Dan, comfortable and sober in his old 
apartments, another secured to him against all outsiders 
by the careful consideration of the State, for the term 
of his natural life. It is uncomfortable to any man of 
spirit to be harassed in this way. So Dan is continually 
ruffled by the treatment he receives from his fellow 
mendicants, and determines that he will be a real porcu- 
pine among the snakes. Dan had once owned a farm ; 
he had a good house, a pleasant wife, and was thought 
to be well off. But by degrees his own coarse nature 
revealed itself, he got down to a point so low in charac- 
ter and position, that there was no rehef. He went to 
prison. His wife, who had long suffered sadly at his 
hands, now obtained a separation from him, and, albeit, 
she survived his liberation, she never saw him more. 
He was a bloated, swearing, evil man, and few there 
w^ere of any class in human life, who affiliated with him. 
Dan, with one of his muttered oaths, declared that he 
had studied character a good deal in his former residence, 
meaning his long ten years' residence, to which we have 
already alluded, and was sure that Captain Bunco was 
" trying a sort of States prison reform of life." Nobody 
knew better than Dan what State prison penitence 
meant ! Very generally Captain Bunco was criticised 
by his poor people who, on the whole, rather regarded 



90 NEW England's chattel's ; or, 

him as working a sort of up-hill-repentance for the short- 
comings of his past life. 

But Captain Bunce had in a measure forgotten Joe 
Harnden, aunt Dorothy's blessing, and the widow's 
prayers. The " short comings of his past life" were, it 
is true, overwhelming hiiti, but the short comings them- 
selves were the out goes of his establishment, that he 
rather considered had been too generous — too satisfac- 
tory to the town, unnecessarily burdensome to himself. 
He was, in a sort of penitent brown-study as to the best 
way of retrieving his past errors, and applying his hu- 
manity by a more stringent and rigid rule, avoiding such 
a tremendous going beyond his duty. He could not get 
over it that he should lose the " good opinion," as he 
called it, of Squire Ben Stout, and of the other select- 
men, or that they should be troubled with the idea that 
he was treating the paupers too well. 

" Heaven knows," soliloquized he, " that I never meant 
to do that ; the most I ever dreamed of was to do about 
right, but to be charged with sqandering money on 
them too lavishly — ah ! ' that is the unkindest of all 
cuts.'" The Captain had heard this saying in his life 
as applied to others, but he now thought it would ap- 
ply to him better than anything else he could recall to 
mind, either of an oral or recorded nature, and so he 
" out with it," adding, as he put his hands in his pockets 
and fumbled over the loose coppers and ten cent pieces 
there, " Heaven save me from my best friends," which 
was another sentiment the Captain recollected just in 
time to give him some comfort. 

But on the w^hole he was unhappy over this subject. 
He did not like to be called a spendthrift in a case so 
utterly destitute of true merit. He could conceive of 
no real temptation to such a sin, if sin it were, and he 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 91 

confessed himself more troubled about it than he ever 
remembered to have been before. 

Poor, conscience-stricken Bunce. He has very sad 
reflections — the paupers notice and speak of it — but at 
the same time, he encounters another great difficulty, 
the two are almost enough to crush him ; it is this, to 
find a rule of fractions by which to work a larger de- 
nominational value to his poor-house " findings." 



92 NEW England's chattels; or, 



CHAPTER IX. 

Northern fenr of the Poor- House. The Pepper's. Very poor people, and people 
not the poorest, often and generally envy the rich. It was an early development 
in society that riches carried great weight, so all the poor people have been mad 
after them. Here we show you what a pleasant thing it is to be rich. 

Crampton had a large, busy town-population, i. e., an 
active, enterprising village citizenship, where the major- 
ity of the people resided, and it had a large rural popu- 
lation. There were some very large and fine farms in 
the place. The village, or " city," as it was called, quite 
on the east side of the town, like many others in New 
England, was filled up with mechanic shops, manufacto- 
ries of various kinds, stores, hotels, and so forth. A 
large, rapid stream, formed by the union of the Little 
Bear and Slip-Slop Creeks, furnished a magnificent power 
for machinery, and was improved to its utmost extent 
by the enterprising capitalists of the place and of the 
neighboring towns. A very large cotton factory, four 
stories high, two hundred feet in length, containing 
eight thousand spindles, and thirty or forty looms, in- 
volving a first cost of three hundred and fifty thousand 
dollars, and giving work to more than two hundred men, 
women, and children, was the principal manufacturing 
establishment in the place, though as it was on the east 
side of the bridge, it was really in the town of Ladder- 
ville. But the bridge, a wide, strong, stone arch, formed 
a connection so complete that it was all called by the 
name of Crampton, a very busy, factory-bell sounding 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR HOUSE. 93 

village, grown up rapidly, having also a large imported 
population, three or four churches with and without 
crosses, long lines of similar looking dwellings, inter- 
spersed with hotels, stores, " saloons,''^ as they are called, 
and " bazaars,^^ entered at the sides of screens, and bril- 
liantly lighted, where, behind the screens, pieces of naked 
statuary fill the niches and recesses of the w^alls, (such is, 
indeed, the public taste !) and exquisite paintings of 
robeless women in every luscious attitude also adorn 
them, pleasant incitives these to a social " round" at the 
bar ; billiards, cards, and dancing completing the happy 
joviality of these — forsooth — saloons ! bazaars ! 

In this busy town there were also found the usual ap- 
pendages to society in its highly civilized state, and with- 
out which a certain per cent, of the population would 
die of ennui, sensibly and painfully noting the absence 
of their chief good — and making the streets of Crampton 
as still and as gloomy as a Sabbath to them — I mean the 
appendages of oyster shops, groggeries, and beer-holes, 
nine-pin alleys, cock-fights, cards, billiards, and so forth. 
And at and in these, graduated much of the pauperism 
of the town. In these rummies, and licensed houses for 
the " refreshment" of body and spirit, many a Harnden, 
Dodge, and Sherman, got his ticket to the privileges and 
entertainments of the poor-house. Here, also, were liv- 
ery-stables where horses and carriages were furnished 
on Sundays, at higher prices than on week days, for the 
demand was greater. Here were found open drug-stores, 
all day and evening of the Sabbath, for there are more 
calls for ipecac and elixir paregoric on Sunday than on, 
any other day. We wonder why the banks did not fol- 
low the example, on account of notes maturing on that 
day. It would, indeed, seem to be more in accordance 
xvith the exactness of banking rules, than to make tJiose 



94 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

notes payable on Saturday, or to " grace" them till Mon 
day — a never-tliought-of-thing, this last, we agree ! 

In the village proper, or city as was its nom de j^^Mue, 
there were also here and there, in the so-called " places," 
" avenues," and " squares," smart blocks of houses, ten- 
anted by the aristocracy of the place, i. e., by retired 
rich men, by owners of stock in the factory, bank presi- 
dents, directors, stockholders, brokers, overseers, heavily 
salaried agents, officers in various benevolent institu- 
tions, etc., etc. And in one of these, a princely dwell- 
ing it was, on the Ladderville side of the stream, where 
were several of the handsome public buildings, and three 
or four modern built churches, lived George Pepper, 
Esq., a hundred thousand dollar stockholder in the great 
brick factory. 

Pepper was an only child of John Pepper of Cramp- 
ton — miserly, churlish, rich old John Pepper — who, 
though once young, once an active merchant, once a man 
'among men, is now a peevish, unhappy, fearful old miser, 
living in the outskirts of the town, on one of his farms, 
in a low, dingy-looking house, once tenanted by one of 
his farmers. He is an owner, though unwillingly, in the 
factory — George Pepper managing his interest there 
and his own. But the old gentleman does not leave it 
wholly to George, his anxiety forbidding this wholesale 
reliance on another, even his first-born son and only one. 
He is owner in other stock, in bank stock, in real estate, 
and has money on exorbitant interest well and securely 
funded. But he is poor : nobody is more so. He has 
not a dollar he can call his own ; he has no money to 
let, or lend, or give to any body or for any object. But 
still he is every body's banker who can give him his se- 
curity ; and notwithstanding his great poverty, he can 
command immense sums of money. The miserly quality 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 95 

of John Pepper's old age is communicated to the soul of 
his wife, Mrs. Rachel Pepper, who incessantly busies her 
mind v,^ith the uncomfortable consideration that her 
husband is too great a spendthrift, and that both he and 
she will yet come to be occupants (in re) of the Cramp- 
ton poor-house. So thought Pepper himself. It was 
this idea that made him extremely nervous, unaccommo- 
dating, and personally griping. Mr. and Mrs. Pepper 
lived on less food than the individual half-fed paupers. 
But their dieting in this cheap way was a voluntary act, 
the result of their private reasonings on the future, and 
the conviction of their minds on the score of duty. 

In the case of the Peppers was truly exhibited the 
apprehension of the people at the North of coming to 
the poor-house. If they have a terror — the people in 
general — of any earthly calamity or downfall, it is this 
condition of poverty. It is feared by the rich as well as 
by the poor ; the learned as w^ell as the ignorant ; many 
an author, poet, teacher, divine, having had the pinch- 
ings of hunger in the garret, and tasted in an alms-house 
or hospital the bitterness of want. It has foreshadow- 
ings of evil to the young as well as the old, having a 
terrible and common celebrity and importance. Parents 
introduce the idea early to the notice of their children, 
informing them that unless they save all their money, 
unless they are sharp in their bargains, look well to 
their own advantage, are very economical in their ne- 
cessary expenses, and disinclined to generous charity 
and benevolence, they will surely come to the poor-house. 
This is the instruction of many a fireside, the seed sown 
in the youthful heart, that takes root and grows up into 
a tree of deadly shade on the pathway of life. 

This fear of the poor-house, the terror it inspires, has 
in itself the gleamings and rumblings of retribution ; for 



96 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

as one has cultivated a heart of selfishness, and denied 
the calls of mercy and charity, so he thinks it may fall 
to him in the end that the same blasting winds shall 
sweep away his goods which have carried away the 
goods of others. 

The poor-house is the possible chance of every man, 
woman and child. It is the refuge of the blind, the 
lame, the outcast. And who may not become as one of 
these, even ? 

Old Mr. and Mrs. Pepper were very careful accumu- 
laters. Tliey worked together to this end always, never 
designedly parting with any portion of their gains for 
private enjoyment, nor willingly for any public good. 
Their dwelling house much resembled in point of age. 
color, and true value — the poor-house itself. "Within, 
however, it must«be confessed, the very miserly disposi- 
tion of its occupants, led them to scrub the walls, and 
air the rooms, and preserve them from decay. Mrs. 
Pepper thought little or nothing of scrubbing skin from 
her fingers, and of deadening the tender sensibility of 
hands and limbs in the service of a drudge at all work. 
It was nothing worth to wear out herself if thereby she 
saved a penny, and put a little in the background the 
tormenting vision of future poverty. 

The roof of their old mansion was patched up here 
and there, that it might not leak a drop ! Dampness on 
the roof was bad enough ; but in the chambers — lo ! the 
poor-house. The house boasted a front door, but it sel- 
dom swung on its hinges, as the other entrance on the 
east end of the dwelling was the more convenient to the 
kitchen, and it was there the worthy couple passed most 
of their hours when together. But it had no front fence. 
That were an idle expense, both to make and keep it in 
repair — especially, also, as neither shrub nor flower 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 97 

grew and thrived under the eaves. It was a low, dark, 
dingy looking house, cheerless, forbidding, uncomforta- 
ble. True, man and icoman tenanted it — a married pair 
sworn to love and helpfulness ; but there also was ap- 
prehension, selfishness, worldly care, and shudderings 
over a possible future — a certain seeming assurance of 
the dark and gloomy days of want. This it was that 
ruled out love, happiness, and peace from their home ; 
that blasted their old age, and transformed every bless- 
ing into a curse. Omens of the future ; omens of a 
dark and wretched future ; omens of poverty, loomed 
up in eviery picture of life, to others pleasing and predi- 
catory of enjoyment. 

Mr. Pepper was close with himself to a penu}', em- 
phatically cautioning his aged spouse never to buy 
steaks for dinner above the six cent rounds, and those 
but once in a fortnight ; and Mrs. Pepper begged him 
to moderate his appetite for steaks, by previous indul- 
gence on herrings two for a cent. Mr. Pepper threat- 
ened to sell all his hens if Mrs. Pepper allowed herself 
to use an eg^ in cooking pies, puddings, or cake ; while 
Mrs. Pepper administered reproof to her husband for 
putting twelve eggs under a hen, when it was evident 
from the brood of chickens that only eleven would hatch, 
in twelve and a half cent trades, Mr. and Mrs. Pepper 
seldom failed to appropriate the half cent to themselves. 
Whenever interest on notes for odd days made the frac- 
tional value doubtful, Mr. Pepper reasoned the doubts 
into assurances in his favor. Both Mr. and Mrs. Pepper 
had, time and again, proved to their perfect conviction, 
by numerical calculations, the absolute wasting of their 
fortune in a given time, and they grew more and more 
miserly, mean, and mercenary as they approached the 
grave — seeing, hearing, dreaming of nothing- so much as 

5 



98 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

the same portentous symbol of their latter end, the 
poor-house. 

Even Christian men and women at the North are 
much troubled at the idea of future poverty. It requires 
all their philosophy, and the aid of much prayer, to over- 
come these apprehensions. They work hard, and save 
every thing in their power : very frequently is this so, 
that they may not die in the poor-house, or in poverty. 

Thus passed they into life beyond their three-score 
years and ten, feeling more and more the need of wealth, 
of what comforts it might procure them, of the good 
they might accomplish with it, but, under the ceaseless 
workings of a miserly fear of want, viewing themselves 
every ncAV year poorer than in any previous one. What 
ceaseless activity did Mr. Pepper display in guarding 
his investments ! How constantly he predicted the fail- 
ure of banks and associations, the downfoU of prices, the 
ruin of all capital, and the failure of all men to meet their 
engagements ! He would frequently declare, when a 
payment was made him of interest on a note, or the prin- 
cipal itself, that he would never again loan a dollar ! 
But the renewal of the temptation, when the security 
was undeniably good, as often led him to break his pro- 
mise, in spite of his predictions and fears. Accordingly, 
his interest money was yearly of great amount, and as 
he expended literally almost nothing, of course his pro- 
perty was ever and largely on the increase. 

But more begets its want, and Mr. and Mrs. Pepper 
were the poorest people in Crampton ! They never had 
any thing for new clothes, new furniture, new food, new 
house, or barn, or vehicle. Never any thing for improv- 
ing the town, or the country. Never a dollar for some 
heart-stirring benevolence, no money for the poor, none 
for education, none for morals and religion. No, nothing. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 99 

" We are too, too poor, and shall come to the poor- 
house." 

Surely there must be something in the poor-house, as 
an institution in every town, contrary to human pride, 
comfort, desire, and happiness — the very opposite of the 
life man ever seeks for himself, for which he toils, and 
risks life, and reputation, and present enjoyment ; the 
dark picture this, undoubtedly, that man holds up before 
him to nerve his efforts, to fortify his weakness, to en- 
courage his self-denials. Oh ! if he can save his wife, 
and children, and himself, from the miserable fates of 
poverty — from the tender mercies of pauperism, from 
the cold charity of the town, the compulsory help of men 
who have no souls, and from the self-tortures and degra- 
dation of such a state, what labor, to what effort and sac- 
rifice will he not submit, and on how small and scanty 
portion of life's good nourishment, feed himself! 

Yes ! I have seen the poor-house, where the inmates 
huddled together with gleaming eyes, in ragged and 
patched garments, in cold, and hunger, and wretched- 
ness, men, and women, and children, vice and virtue, in- 
nocence and sin, making one fire warm as they gathered 
round it, and at night making common lodgings on the 
same creaking, scantily provided bed. Opened doors, 
and opened halls, and broken windows, in winter let 
pierce them, blasts which their enfeebled frames could 
ill endure. And at all seasons of the year the uncleanly, 
unventilated apartments, gave off a revolting efiiuvia, 
from which all the good and wholesome of earth would 
shrink back in blank and terrible amazement. 

And every one of these miserable objects, though a 
human being, was a pauper, one who could not help him- 
self, who had got through his chances of good fortune, 
(if we except the young,) and was here to look back on 



100 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

life and shudder over it ; to look forward to a gift-grave, 
without a head-stone, or a handsome coffin or funeral, 
the very prayer over his grave a donation, and lament- 
ably patronizing — the mourners, none. 

I know not why it is so, fully, but the fact cannot and 
will not be denied, that men at the North have not only 
fearful apprehensions of the poor-house, but they despise 
and hate it. No man respects it ; no man esteems it a 
desirable refuge — not even the poor ; no men or women 
pray over it as a Christian institution. It is not once 
named in the catalogue of church charities. No contri- 
bution for the poor-house, as such, is ever made in the 
sanctuary ; be it, however, true that individual charity 
may sometimes flow that way through undiscovered 
channels. Of late, on days of public thanksgiving, and 
at Christmas and New Years, the great hotels in our 
cities have liberally bestowed, for distribution among 
the suffering and reclaimed ones at the Five Points and 
elsewhere, the good things of their own princely tables. 
But it is true, as we have said, that the poor-house is 
not a special charity of individuals, or of communities of 
even Christian men. It is the taxed jjt^ovision of the town. 
Every man's property — hard and selfish old bankers, 
young and enterprising farmers, men of all trades and 
professions — their property is taxed to support those 
who have no property ; to support those that belong to 
their town, because no other town will support them — 
one of them. Unwillingly taxed, yet made to bear it ; 
taxed too heavily, as hundreds reason ; taxed unreason- 
ably long, say they. The poor have been through this 
themselves ; have often, it is likely, paid their tax to 
support the town paupers, and cursed them between 
their teeth as they did it. Now they are receiving the 
same unwillingly jjrofTered soup and bread ! The curs- 



LIFE IX THE XORTHERX POOR-HOUSE. 101 

ings of generations rest on this house of wailing. Not 
a being is there, it may be, who has not seen his day of 
pride, when he cursed the poor for their imbecility and 
thriftlessness. And so, the " curse causeless" coming 
not, they in their turn bear it : and it is a fell and bitter 
one. Every tax-payer is secretly glad, perhaps, when 
this and that incumbrance on the town gets through, 
and goes to his last cold pillow. How the tides of sel- 
fishness all set up against this last and unfortunate 
stopping-place of the poor livers, the poor, thriftless 
vagabonds, and houseless, homeless, dollarless, dimeless 
ones of the world ! As every body hates and dreads 
and curses it, so the curse seems to rest upon it ; and I 
do not know so undesirable a home as it, in what may be 
called a free condition or state of the human body. To 
be sent to the prison or goal is disgraceful, but not so 
hopeless and pitiless. A man goes to prison for three, 
five, or ten years ; but he does not by that lose caste 
with the world. He may survive the ordeal, and with 
unbroken energies, achieve afterwards a name and se- 
cure a fortune. But the pauper is done with. Society 
hopes not nor expects from him any improvement, nor 
any available labor or remittances, save the last labor of 
his dying breathings, the remittances of his taxable 
support ! 

Old Mr. Pepper had often cursed the poor-house ; 
Mrs. Pepper had denounced it. Both of them feared 
it. They predicted their last home in it. They hated 
it, yet were sure they should tenant its rooms, and taste 
its bitterest cups. To the poor-house and all its hor- 
rors they were fast gliding, though now nearly eighty 
years of age, and of unquestioned w^ealth. " We shall 
go to the poor-house yet," said Mrs. Pepper, when a 
lady asked her for a dollar to buy garments for Mrs. 



102 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

Sevens and her eight children ; " we shall go to the 
poor-house ourselves yet." " Before we die we shall 
get into the poor-house," said John Pepper, Esq., to his 
son, who begged him to assist in building a new church ; 
we shall go to the poor-house, and you know it." And 
to the poor-house, it is true, they finally went! Did 
the3^ not deserve to go there ? 



LIFE IN THE XORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 103 



CHAPTER X. 

Ddty leads in the way of securing and laying in Provisions. Juts vs. Dan, 
and Dan vs. Jims. 

One morning, soon after the interview whicli took 
place between Mr. Savage and Captain Bunco, the latter 
directed Dick, his son, to have the team put to the cart, 
" both yokes," and to go over with John, the hired man, 
and with Dan and Bill, to Mr. Savage's for a lot of beef 
he had bought of him, and to stop at Durkee's, the 
butcher, for a barrel or two of heads, neck pieces, 
and shanks, and at Bowler's for a couple of barrels 
of cider. *' And if you want him, take Jims along with 
you," said he. 

" Want him !" exclaimed Dick ; " I should as soon 
want a wild cat. He's a young devil at best, and needs 
a flogging every day of his life." 

" Hold up, Dick, hold up," said his father ; " Jims is a 
brat, I know ; but we must consider that he's young, 
yet, in manners, and that he will grow better by-and-bye." 

" He'll swing for it one of these days, or I'll marry 
old Mag, by heavens !" said the hopeful Dick. 

" Oh, don't be too dead on Jims," replied the Captain. 
" He may come to the State prison ; but I hope he'll 
escape the gallows. Call him if you want him." 

" Jims !" shouted Dick, three or four times, in vain. 

" Jims !" hoarsely and sternly cried the Captain. But 
no "Jims." 

" Dan," said Dick, as that worthy appeared, " if you 



104 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

know where Jims is bring hiin here, and also old Bill 
I want you three to go with us this morning." 

" Go where ?" savagely growled the old criminal. 

" Over t'other side, with the team." 

'•' When are you going ?" 

' Now, in five minutes." 

" Havn't had any thing to eat yet." 

" Well, whose fault is that ? There's food enough, if 
you are a mind to eat it." 

" The cold vituals getting bad tho', and not much on't." 

" None of your impudence, Dan. Eat your stuff and 
come along. Find Bill and Jims, and bring them. Tell 
Jims to ride old Roan to Sparks' and get her shod, and 
then come to Savage's with the tackling to hitch her 
ahead of the team." 

In a warm corner of the poor-house "public room," as 
it was called, not far from the fire, rolled up in a tattered 
and faded blanket, a human figure might be noticed, ap- 
parently in a deep sleep. He seemed regardless of the 
chattering voices around him, of the shoutings without, 
even of his own name, of his own hard bed and comfort- 
less bedding, of every thing, of life. His breathings 
were long and heavy, and he occasionally grated his 
teeth together, as you have seen or heard children whose 
sleep is more or less uncomfortable and disturbed, and 
anon he muttered unintelligible words. But no one no- 
ticed him, no one spoke to him, although a number were 
in the room, and some were loquacious and even merry 
and facetious over their cold breakfast of yesterday's 
bone-pickings and liver. They were accustomed to his 
ways, which also resembled their own, for all in the 
poor-house lounged down when and where they chose. 
Besides, Jims was a lad cf but ten or twelve years of 
age, a mere stripling among them, who, though some- 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 105 

what wilful and headstrong, was rather a favorite with 
the old folks, on account of his willingness to take their 
part when the Captain was rough and hard on them, and 
because he often rendered them boyish services, running 
into the yard for chips, and up stairs for a pipe, and 
could get down on his hands and knees and stoutly blow 
up the coals when the fire was low, and now and then 
coidd get an extra mug of cider, without discovery, to 
cheer some fainting soul or thirsty palate, or perchance 
steal or beg a parcel of tobacco for the common good, 
and it might happen, a chicken ! Naturally a smart, 
bright boy, the life led at this institution was any thing 
but appropriate to the development of his true nature, 
its associations being far below the true standard of mo- 
rality ; its amusements, its labors, its experiences, its com- 
forts degrading and demoralizing. Jims, notwithstand- 
ing the disadvantages of his position, was a tall, stout, 
athletic boy, although rather awkward and ungainly. 
He now slept on, and breathed heavily as though his 
rest in the night had been disturbed, and he determined 
to get its equivalent after sunrise. 

In the meantime, aunt Dorothy was trying to munch 
her breakfast of hard bread and tough liver, washing it 
down her throat with cheap tea, sugarless and milkless, 
anon alternating with well watered cider, and interlard- 

" Drum, de drum, drum, drum, Come let us join, 
Do, de, dro, dro, drum our cheerful songs, 
Drum, drum, drum, dro, de dro drum, with angels 
Dro, dro, dro, round the throne." 

Bill had just fired up his pipe, and was preparing for 
a good cruise against Old Time, Hard Luck, and Dame 
Fortune. Boyce, the " author of Blamstown, a novel," 
had unrolled his musty and undecipherable manuscript, 



106 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

and, leaning over a chest, was carefully reading it, as he 
alone could read it, and at the same time soaked a hard 
crust in harder cider, thus essaying to feed at the same 
time both soul and body. (Poor Alanson, his last manu- 
script would not sell. " The Trade" refused to take the 
risk, and its author being too poor to print it himself, 
retired first to a small third-story room, where he lived 
cheap, and then to a garret where he lived on — nothing. 
Driven thence by a remorseless landlord, he finally took 
out into the country, roving here and there, wandering 
about until he at last fell within the limits of Crampton, 
and the " authorities" took him in a very weak and half- 
starved condition to the poor-house. Here he has been 
for two or three years, no publisher appearing to print 
his last work, despite his former celebrity as the author 
of a work that run through ten editions in six months. 
Poor Alanson Boyce ! He has spent his ten per cent, 
copyright, and now there is but " a wreck of him left 
behind." Accustomed to hard fare, he will not immedi- 
ately " drop off," but he will gradually go down. He has 
got near the last round of his ladder. He is a tall, dark- 
eyed, slender-framed man of thirty. His black hair falls 
down over his face, hiding in part his sunken, shrivelled, 
and wan features, that still betray no ordinary intelli- 
gence. Boyce has seen better days, and came to Ame- 
rica from England. When he walks, he bends over his 
staff and warily picks his way, lest the least obstruction 
should throw him down. His hand trembles violently 
as he lifts the glass to his lip, or conveys food to his 
mouth. His hat is broken, the buttons to his coat are 
worn through, the white liiiing of the elbow reveals it- 
self, pants and shoes are seedy. He is moneyless, friend- 
less — nay, the girl named Roxy befriends him, and occa- 
sionally pats him on the cheek, gives him a cracker, picks 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 1Q7 

wp bis cane, gives him her seat by the fire, begs him a 
cup of warm tea, and bids him " cheer up." Jims always 
loves to hear him read his " stories" from his papers, and 
takes his part against the churls of the establishment. 
The pious widoAv reads to him from her worn Bible — so 
he is not wholly friendless. But the busy world has 
nearly forgotten him — indeed few, if any of his readers 
and former admirers, know the first word of his present 
misery. Through the long, cold, and damp winter of 
forty , Boyce, the fine writer and agreeable gentle- 
man of other days, dragged the weary months away in 
the poor-house of Crampton, a state pauper.) Some are 
walking here and there, or looking out of door or win- 
dow. Blind Hetty threads her way through the dingy 
abode to seek aunt Prescott — still Jims rouses not, nor 
seems to be any nearer the end of his sonorous sleep. 
Sweet is sleep, even to the poor and miserable vagrant. 
Sleep — that boon of God to man universal. It comforts 
the weary, it restores the sick and drooping, it shortens 
the up-hill of life, it graduates human experiences for 
the time being, it obliterates present woes, and gives 
one strength for future ones. 

We know not how much longer Jims might have 
slumbered, but for the approach of Dan — surly, heavy- 
treading, hateful, prison-escaped Dan. He came on the 
errand of beating up and breaking up the quarters of 
Bill and Jims, by the mandate of Dick Bunce. 

" Where's Bill ?" said he, in a coarse, gruff tone, as he 
came to the door and encountered the girl Roxy. 

" He's in," said she, dodging away from him. Dan 
looked after her with a frown, but she passed on without 
looking back. 

" Bill," said he, " the team's ready." 

" What's Bill care if 'tis ?" inquired the sapient negro. 



108 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" Why, you'll just go with Dick and me and Jiras. 
"Where's Jims ? Oh, I hear the brat 1 You'll go over 
to Savage's for a load ; and so be up and stirring, old 
fellow, or the Captain himself '11 be in your hair." 

Poor old Bill grumbled bitterly to be ordered off just 
then, "but s'posed he must go." Dan passed on, and 
rousing Jims with a heavy kick, exclaimed — 

" Get up here, you young scamp — get off that blanket, 
you lazy cuss, or I'll tallow you. Don't you hear folks 
calling ? If you don't get up in less than no time, I'll 
kick you into the fire where you'll finally go, if there is 
any. Hey ?" 

Jims was now thoroughly awake. Raising himself 
partly up, he encountered the fierce glare of Dan, who 
had so unceremoniously broken up his sleep, and for a 
moment quailed before it. But this was onl}'- for a mo- 
ment. Springing to his feet, and staring back into the 
old pauper's eyes a fierceness equalling his own, he ex- 
claimed — 

" What do you want of me, old Brimstone, hey ? Go 
to the devil, for all I care. Kick me, will you, old cider- 
drinker !" 

" Yes, I'll kick your life out of you in five minutes, if 
you don't go about your bisness." 

" Kick me again, old villain, and I'll get you horse- 
whipped. I've a right to sleep on the blanket if I get 
it first. You know it's none of yourn ; nor's any thing 

in this d rotten old house yourn, if it's ever so 

poor." 

" Well, you're under my orders, you young lout, and 
I tell you to be moving. Move ! or I'll tallow you with 
a raw-hide." 

" Move ! I won't move a peg for you, old c ." 

" You shall, you bastard ; be off!" 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 109 

" I won't !" And Jims doubled up his fists, and braced 
back against him. As for Dan, who liked this fun, he 
violently thrust forward both his brawny arms 'o seize 
and crush the youngster, when a blow from another arm 
behind him felled him to his knees. Just in time, ^vce 
had sprung up to rescue the lad ; and now, as Pan slowly 
recovered himself, and with a look of savage ferocity, 
seemed meditating a thorough revenge on him for inter- 
fering, Boyce calmly informed him that if he advanced 
a step towards him he would annihilate him. The old 
rascal, however, seemed bent on making an assault, when 
aunt Dorothy planted herself between the combatants, 
and told them, with arms stretched out towards each 
one, that she would " have no fighting there !" 

What power to restrain from it she would have had, 
we know not ; but, perhaps fortunately for all parties, 
at this moment the form of Captain Bunce darkened the 
door, and Dick followed him with his cart-whip in his 
hand. The Captain, perceiving at a glance the true 
state of the case, snatched the whip from the hand of 
his son, and pushing Boyce aside, put the lash across the 
shoulders of Dan, and tingled Jims' sides with it, till they 
both begged for quarters, and promised to have no fur- 
ther dispute. 

" Well, now, be off," said the Captain, •' both of you ; 
and if they make you any trouble, Dick, put on the lash. 
They knoAV what their duty is ; if not, I'll teach them. 
As for the rest on you," said he, " keep out of brawls. 
Better find steady employment, than spend the time in 
idle talk and wrangling. You'll get a short allowance 
for this, I'll promise you." 

It was night before the men got back. 

The team drove slowly into the yard. It consisted of 
two yoke of oxen, and old Roan the mare on the lead. 



110 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

Jims was on her back sitting- sideways, his feet careless- 
ly dangling by her side, his back curving like the new 
moon, and his chin resting on his hands. Dan plodded 
along behind. Bill was riding stowed in among the 
barrels. 

" Well, Dick," said his father, " good luck, hey?" 

" Have had a hard pull of it anyhow," said that 
^\ orth}' . 

" What, with three or four barrels, and a little cider ? 
Whew, Dick 1" 

" Three or four barrels ! Thunder !" 

" Yes, perhaps so, that's enough." 

" We'll count them off, if you wiU." 

The Captain grew black with anger, when he counted 
six barrels of poor beef on the load, a quantity suffi- 
cient for him two years. 

" What's all this, Dick ? What have you here, hey ? 
Six barrels ! By George, I'll not stand that any how. 
Savage knows I never bought six barrels of him." 

" So I told him," said Dick. " He had seven barrels, 
but I refused to take any more than six, and told him 
we couldn't eat it in two years. But Savage swore you 
bought the lot." 

" So I did the lot of three or four barrels, not all the 
beef in creation by any means. Six barrels !" and the 
Captain swore hard. " Well, well, roll it in. Only con- 
sider, Dick," said he in a whisper, " the more they eat 
of it the faster they'll die off." 

" That's a true bill and no mistake," replied his hope- 
ful one. " But it's plaguy disagreeable work to handle 
coffins. If it wan't for that, I'd just as Hef they'd drop 
off one a week as any way." 

"Never mind about the coffins, Dick ; we get used to 
them, and the most I care about the beef, is the likeli- 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOll-HOUSE. Ill 

hood of having a lot on hand t^vo or three years hence. 
The chances are that beef '11 fall off ten per cent, before 
the year's up. I want enough of this feed only, to 
keep the folks along when other things' scarce you 
know — not enough to pay interest on for all future time. 
Savage's a hard one any how, and to get a trade out of 
him, a man must look two or three ways for Sunday.'^ 

"What have you got there, Cap'n Bunce ?" shouted 
a female from the open door of the large mansion. This 
individual was none other than Mrs. Bunce herself, 
stout, red-faced, loud talking, coarse and vulgar-looking 
Mrs. Bunce. The Captain to her inquiry said he'd got 
home a lot of beef from Savage's. 

" Lot of beef from Savage's !" said she, " and is that 
ail beef?" 

" To be sure it is — why not?" 

" What you going to do with it, Cap'n ?" said she ap- 
proaching him. 

" Why, 3'ou see, Mrs. Bunce," and the Captain spoke 
m a low confidential way, and nudged her a little deli- 
cate sort of a you-know-a-thing-or-two nudge in her fat 
arm, " tJds is cheap l)eef ; it's just the sort of feed for the 
people over yonder, with now and then a good cut for 
the rest of us." 

" Well, if this don't beat all my ' Avife's relations,' Cap 
tain Bunce — six barrels of poor beef !" 

" True, but we can't afford good." 

" No — but six barrels ! Why, Captain Bunce, you're 
crazy ! All the poor folks in creation couldn't eat it in 
a year ; and as for cooking it, the Lud knows I shan't." 
Poor Mrs. Bunce ! " The Lord knows." Yes, He knows 
many things that seem hidden from us. 

But Mrs. Bunce liked a joke. She wasn't so hard on 
the Captain, after all, as her words seemed. She had a 
thorough conviction of his supremacy, but was now and 



112 NEW England's chattel's ; or, 

then a little assuming ; just enough, at least, to give the 
Captain a homeopathic dose of uneasiness. 

" Mrs. Bunce !" said the Captain, seriously. 

" What?" said she, rather suddenly. 

"/will take care of the beef!" 

Mrs. Bunce looked up for an explanation. She looked 
into her husband's face : it was cold and resolved. 

" Very well," said she. " Beef it is, poor beef, and 
enough on't." 

Mrs. Bunce turned and went into the house. The 
beef was rolled into the cellar, and the paupers of 
Crampton were fated to feed on it. 

One barrel was opened that evening ; the next day 
the whole family made a dinner of it. 

" It's tough," said the Captain to his spouse. 

She nodded. 

"It's lean," said Dick. 

" Confoundedly so !" said Elisha. 

" It's salt," said Betsey. 

" I wish father hadn't bo't it," said Henrietta. 

What said the paupers ? 

" It is impossible, with my poor gums, to eat this 
beef," said the widow Prescott. 

" It is very hard and yellow," said Ebenezer Cowles 
and Mrs. Dodge. 

" It'll bear munching a good while," said aunt Doro- 
thy and Mrs. Rice. 

" It's tough as bull's hide," said old Dan. 

" It's poor folks' turkey," said poor Boyce. 

" My teeth are good," said Jims, " but they crack 
.some." 

" Too salt," said Bill. " Good salt-water ham, yaw ! 
yaw !" 

On the whole, the beef was condemned at the first 
meal, f^.nd it grew no better very fast. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 113 



CHAPTER XI. 

Mag Davis. — Were it not for beautiful Woman in this world, we should not have 
half the respect for ourselves that we now exercise, nor would Society so rise to 
the dignity of an Institution. As it is, we highly congratulate ourselves, and as 
to Woman are strictly conservative. 

Winter approacliing, the people of Crampton calked 
their doors and windows to keep out the cold ; some 
banked up their houses, and closed the roll-ways with 
straw, leaves, and tan. New stoves, finely polished, 
were ordered ; new furnaces, that warmed the whole 
house, were put up, or the old repaired with new grates, 
and put in order to heat up at a moment's warning. 
Abundance of fuel was laid in without regard to cost, 
and so garments were ordered, furs purchased. Winter 
arrangements complete were made on every side, be- 
cause no man or woman with any thing of a competency 
would think of meeting the rigors of a northern winter 
unprepared. 

There was one class of persons in the town, who, in a 
very imperfect manner, imitated this consistent example. 
We mean the poor-house class. Every body belonging 
to it folded the garments he happened to have on a little 
closer to him, crept a little nearer to the fire, and was 
thankful if the cold of December could be endured on 
gruels, pale cider, beef-bone soup, hard neck and grizzly 
pieces of beef, rusty pork and cheap beans, in quantities 
proportioned to the cost. 

As the wintry weather pinched more and more, all 



1 14 NEW England's chattels : or, 

the stragglers, one after anotlier, who in mild Aveather 
wandered off and got their living — some by begging, 
others by working a little, and some by stealing and 
light pilfering — came in from their excursions, and took 
up with their old quarters at the poor-house. Among 
these came old 3Iag Davis, hag that she was — an out 
and out piece of sinful and wretched humanity. So 
came in John and Polly Tucker, gipsies in their mode of 
life. And there were two or three orphan children, 
ragged and dirty and ignorant. Vicious women and 
wicked men came, and all who could make out a good 
claim on the town staid : others passed on. 

The snow began to fall. Captain Bunce ordered out 
into the fields, and yards, and woods, all the hands who 
could be of any service, and made Bill and Dan, and 
Boyce and Tucker and Jims accomplish a good deal of 
work, while Mrs. Bunce compelled the women and more 
infirm men to help her about house. " You must 
work," said she, " or starve ; we can't feed idle bodies.'' 

In vain the poor creatures complained ; work was 
good for them, and it cost a world of money to keep 
them. Captain Bunce could not afford to keep them if 
they were to render him no service. Captain Bunce 
discharged his hired man, and told Dick and Elisha to 
make " the folks " do his work. 

A cold hard day closing in with snow and rain, gather- 
ed the miserable, wretched paupers into their hovel. Bu 
Jims dripping with rain and covered with snow, brough 
in some large armfulls of brush, chips, and a log or two 
which were cast on the fire. The flames flashed up into 
the chimney, and threw their bright light into the large, 
comfortless room. A single taper burned in an iron 
candlestick. The forms of the inmates seated singly. 
and in groups, or lounging here and there, and moving 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 115 

through the room, cast shadows in very grotesque 
shapes along the soiled walls, and creaking floor. 

On the whole, it was the happiest hour of the twenty- 
four for them, for the eating of the day was over, a ra- 
ther self-denying operation, the labor was over, sleep 
was at hand. Yet the society was not entirely homogen- 
eous, except in the one item of poverty, and as the 
elements of discord are not always absent in the best of 
families, how could they be thought always absent here, 
in a group of characters never before in their best days 
quite affiliating together ? It is true, however, that 
common misfortune often makes common friends, anil 
here were friendships grown and growing into some 
form and comliness, where the normal condition was 
one of repugnance. For instance, aunt Prescott was 
become every body's friend, and in her every other 
person learned to have some friendship for his fellows. 
Aunt Dorothy Prinsmade possessed some kindness of 
heart, and tried to serve her companions. All felt a com- 
munity of sentiment, and regarded themselves at liber- 
ty to prey on the interests of the rest of the world. 
Their condition gave them little hope of ever rising 
above want, and to satisfy this, they bound themselves 
together to accomplish what they could. Yet not in form. 
They took no common oath, nor made any common 
plunder. It was in the feelmg of the heart that they 
foraged on society, and bound themselves together, not 
in formal covenant. 

It was seven o'clock. All the chores were done, the peo- 
ple all in— but Roxy. She had sHpped out, a wildish saucy 
faced girl, under-witted they called her, and sometimes 
uncontrolable— she went and came as she liked. Neither 
for her, nor for any other one of their number was there 
ever felt any very great uneasiness of mind when ab- 



116 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

sent, how long soever that absence might be continued. 
She has not a rehitive in the world that she can name, 
nor has she a solitary farthing in money. 

Most of the company gathered near the fire, turning 
this way and that, to feel its genial heat, Jims indus- 
triously supplying fuel. They maintained quite a con- 
versation among themselves, the general drift of which 
was in complaint of their present lot, or mourning over 
their departed happiness. 

" How the cold comes in under the doors, and through 
that broken Avindow," said Boyce, who had thrown him- 
self on the old bed, and tried to cover up his shivering 
limbs. 

" Jims," said he, " take my old hat and crowd it into 
that broken window, will ye ? It's plaguy chilly here." 

Jims did so, and at the same time heaped more fuel 
on the fire. 

" It is a cold night, Mr. Boyce," said widow Prescott, 
" and a lot of poor souls like us feel it. For my part, I 
should have relished a cup of hot tea to-night ; and I 
think it would have done you good." 

" Hot tea, Mrs. Prescott !" said the other ; " when the 
paupers of Crampton get what they like and need to 
eat and drink, somebody beside Captain Isaac Bunce 
will have the care of them." 

" That's a fact .'" screamed a voice in the rear of a 
group near the fire, which all knew to be that of Mag 
Davis. " That's a fact !" she exclaimed, coming forward 
a little, and sitting down on one of the old chairs near 
the foot of the bed — " Captain Bunco's tea bill," said 
she, " won't swamp him, I'll swear." 

Mag was an uncommonly hard and desperate charac- 
ter. Not that there never appeared another like her. 
This we do not mean, but that she was one of her ov^-n 



« 







MAG DAVIS 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 117 

class, and that a ver}^ depraved one. Similar personages 
are now and then seen in all our public institutions. 
They have a character formed in the streets, formed in 
the schools of licentiousness and unrestrained self-indul- 
gence. Mag Davis was once a handsome girl. All her 
youthful history we do not pretend to know. Write it 
we would not if known to us. Sufficient be it, that 
there is one record kept of every mortal life, and of her 
life of course. We know her as Mag Davis. She would 
pass for a female ; her long dangling hair spoke this of 
her, and in her face were yet some feminine traceries — ^ 
enough to warm your heart to her, at least in compassionj^i 
if there were wanting nothing to deaden its emotions. 
But ugliness, recklessness, and ferocity mingled their 
expression in her face, and lurked in her eyes. She 
Avore tattered and draggled skirts, and nothing in her 
person was more pleasing than in the character of her 
mind. She was an ugly old crone, yet she knew a great 
deal, and could converse wuth great fluency. And now 
she sat rather back in the group, at the foot of the bed- 
stead, crowded partly into a corner, half hidden by the 
slouching form of John Tucker, drunken and debauched 
as he was, and Polly, his miserable, red-faced w^ife, who 
had both lately found winter quarters at the poor-house. 
Here, in the faintly lighted portion of the room, she sat 
and snapped her fingers in the air, higgling and hitch- 
ing and swaying this way and that, jerking her head 
violently and spasmodically from one side to another, 
and often leading off, in a rapid, screaming voice, the 
conversation of the miserable and haggard wretches 
around her. Her conversational power, as we have 
said, was great. She could frame good sentences, and 
express them with an emphasis of earnestness that made 
one re,j;ard them, and with intonations of voice peculiar 



,v 






118 NEW England's chvttels; or, 

to well-bred ladies. But yet she was a polluted wretch. 
Her life had been one of criminal self-indulgence — her 
associations vile and wretched. A female, without the 
grace of one — with no outlines remaining of virtue, 
loveliness, attraction — 3"ou saw her but with loathing. 
With squinting eyes she leered on you, and opened her 
toothless jaws to utter words. 

Whatever character or position she may once have 
borne, she is now here, without delicacy, purity, soft- 
ness, fear, love, or hope. She is one of the paupers of 
Crampton. The authorities have her in their charge, 
t makes no sort of difference with them what else she 
^s, was, or might be. She costs the town so many dol- 
lars a year to keep her as she is I 

Poor thing, though ! She has a human soul and body, 
although these things are not, in her case, very Avell de- 
fined ; and she is a lost, doomed one. She is as certain 
to die a forgotten, toothless hag, an old gone-by crone, a 
coarsely fed and shabbily dressed sinner, as ever certain 
was to any one of mortal name or kind. And prayers 
for the POOR in the church mean not such as she ! Her 
class is forgotten — is too hopeless — is on the town — is 
provided for already. Her class is the degraded one 
known only in law, not in charity — a class sold to the 
public bidder — sold out of Christian communities and 
Christian relationships, into the charnel-house — sold to 
save church-going members, and all religious people of 
all religious denominations, if possible, one, two, or three 
per cent, additional tax on the grand list. Call not the 
poor-house we speak of a Christian institution. Its cru- 
elties, its sufterings, its neglect, its forgotten, prayerless 
state point it out as one of the common and degraded 
institutions of selfishness, though planted in the very 
soil of New England. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHEiSN POOR-HOUSE. 119 

"Hot tea and coffee, Mr. Boyce, you'll get enough of it 
in the other world," said Mag, rocking her body back- 
Avards and forwards, and crossing her feet. " But those 
things are only for the rich in this world. Poor folks 
must not complain if they have cold victuals. All that's 
wanted is to keep the life in them, no matter whether 
the blood is warm or not." 

" It's a confounded lie," said old Dan, who was holding 
his place close to the chimney coi'ner, and as usual chew- 
ing a large piece of tobacco. " Poor folks are's good 
as any body. Who cares for the rich? Burn down 
their house, and they are as poor as the rest ov usj« 
And for my part, I love to see a good smart fire." ™ 

" Oh ! pshaw^, now, Dan, don't talk of incendiarism in 
your old age ; one state prison job, I should think, would 
do for you," replied the hag. 

" State prison's a palace to this rotten affair, and ten 
thousand like it. You never '11 deserve to go there, 
d you." 

" It must be a grand place," said she, " it costs a great 
deal to educate folks there, especially so cursedly de- 
serving ones as old Dan." 

" Go to ," growled that worthy and said no more. 

Poor old widow Prescott ! How she sighed as she 
saw and heard all this, and thought of by-gone days. 
But aunt Prescott was a good deal broken, and her 
sensitiveness not as formerly. Yet she groaned and 
turned away saying, " The Lord have mercy on us." 
A.unt Dorothy quietly smoked her pipe, and neither said 
anything nor offered a line of song. 

As for poor Boyce the author, he was really unwell, and 
a little help would have done him good. He groaned 
on the bed, and said he was cold. 

" Well now, the Lord bless you and send deliverance," 



120 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

said the good widow, trying to make him a little more 
comfortable. You shall have more clothes on your 
bed, and we'll heat a brick at the fire and warm your 
feet." 

So saying, she brought a blanket from her own room, 
and threw it over him, and Jims got out of the ashes a 
warm brick, which they managed to roll up in a cloth, 
and applied to his feet. And this was scarcely done 
before the creaking outside door swung open, and the 
slight form of Henrietta glided into the room. She bore 
in her hand a bowl of hot tea, which she had prevailed 
on her mother to make, and send over to the "folks." 

Aunt Dorothy, before unmoved, and careless, appa- 
rently, as to the condition of every thing around her, 
now suddenly laid aside her pipe, and jumping to her 
feet, exclaimed — " The Lord's heard your prayers. Miss 
Prescott, and sent deliverance to Boyce, as he did of old 
to Peter, ha ! ha ! 

" Drum, drum, drum ; praise j"o the Lord, 
Drum, de drum, drum, dro; with one consent, 
Drum, drum, dro." 

" Mr. Boyce !" shrieked Mag, " your tea's come, and 
I believe the Lord's angels went right after it when 
they heard us talking. For my part, I always believed 
the angels had a mighty deal to do with us in this 
world." 

" They've kept a good account of you, I'll swear !" 
grumbled Dan. 

" Ha ! ha ! ha !" shrieked the hag — " set a thief to catch 
a thief." 

After Boyce had taken his tea, aunt Prescott covered 
him up as warmly as possible, and he declared he never 
felt better in his life. He really began to perspire, and 
soon fell into a sound sleep. Henrietta glided from the 
room and went homo. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 121 

Still the evening's storm kept on, though not a very- 
hard and driving one. It was winter's fore-paw, and 
v\^ith it he kept scratching at the windows and doors, and 
seeking for admission to every body's house and room. 

Mr. and Mrs. Haddock, having thought all day of go- 
ing over to the poor-house in the evening, were not pre- 
vented by the storm. As they turned from the street 
and passed an open lot leading to the gate of the grounds, 
they encountered Dick Bunco and Roxy, sauntering off 
together in high glee. 

" A young rascal, bent on mischief, and sure to find it," 
said Mr. Haddock, when fairly past them. " And how 
do you aU find yourselves to-night ?"' he inquired, step- 
ping in among the paupers. 

The whole company started at the sound of his voice, 
as though it were the voice of a deliverer, and especially 
at the sweet words that fell from the lips of his wife, as 
she tenderly took the hand of Mrs. Prescott and em- 
braced her, and went among them all with kindly and 
encouraging words. 

" We are doing tolerably well, I believe," said Mrs. 
Prescott, " but the cold creeps in, and we feel it some in 
our poor bodies — " 

" Here's Boyce sick abed," shouted Mag, " but Boyce 
'11 come up again if he can have good care, and nourish- 
ing food and drink." 

" Well, those he ought to, and shall have ; how long 
has he been sick ?" 

" He's always ailing, you know, but he's been shaking 
and feverish about two hours — and two hours is enough 
to end a pauper, you know, ha ! ha ! ha !" 

" He is better, much better, Mrs. Haddock," said the 
widow, " since Henrietta brougli'' him in a cup of hot 
tea." 

6 



1 22 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" Did she, sweet girl I" 

" The Lord's best blessing on Aer," said aunt Dorothy. 

" Drum, drum, drum." 

" She's Captain Bunce's best side," said Mag. 

" We put a hot brick to his feet, too," said the widow ; 
" see, he's asleep now, and in a good sweat." 

" He has a good, warm blanket on him, too," said Mr. 
Haddock. 

" Miss Prescott got that for him, off her own bed," 
said Mag, " and how in the world she's going to lie warm 
without it the Lord knows, not I." 

" And so you don't have every thing here you could 
desire, after all ?" inquired Mr. Haddock. 

" We don't starve, sir, by no means, nor do we suffer 
the want of clothing as many do, but it is not as it once 
was," said Mrs. Prescott. 

" You have good meat to eat once a day ?" 

•' We have generally some meat," said she. 

" Tough as the side of a barn," said Tucker. 

*' Salt as the sea," said Polly. 

" Bought on a speculation," said Dan. 

" Good enough," said Bill and Jims, " forrf)Oor folks." 

" It '11 last more than one generation," said Mag ; " as 
for my eating it, I never '11 eat a pownd of it if I stay 
here a thousand years." 

" What have you had to-day, Mag ?" inquired he. 

" Had ! Hog's liver, and bone soup, and cider," said 
she. 

" What's Boyce eaten ?" 

" Boyce has eaten his finger nails," said she. 

" Has he had nothing ?" 

" Nothing he could relish. He drank a quart of cider, 
and just now two mugs of tea, but he has not eaten a bit 
of any food this twenty-four hours." 



LIFE IN TUB NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 123 

" Why don't he eat ?" 

" He can't." 

" What's the reason ?" 

" Don't have the food he likes, I s'pose." 

" Is he failing ? Is he so sick he can't eat ?" 

" He's a slender body, sir, and can't endure as much 
as some of us can," answered the widow. " He really 
wants nursing, like a child — a good and kind home — 
good care, good and nourishing food, would save him." 

" Give him some more beef — Savage's beef," said old 
Dan. " That's what Captain Bunce calls hearty food 
and nourishing." 

" Ha I ha ! ha !" shouted Mag. 

Boyce began to move and be disturbed in his sleep. 

" Don't, for the world, wake him," said Mrs. Prescott. 

And aunt Dorothy chimed in her lullaby, as follows : 

" Drum, driim, drum, hush my dear, 

Dro, di, dro, dro, dro, lie still and slumber — 

Dro, drum, drum, drum, holy angels. 

Battle, te drum, drum, drum, guard thy bed." 

Mr. and Mrs. Haddock went softly to his bed and ex- 
amined him. They found him evidently much sick, and 
requiring medical attention, as well as good and careful 
nursing. They resolved to remove him to their own 
house, if Captain Bunce was willing, on the morrow. 

" WeU, then, I see how it is, good people," said Mr. 
Haddock. " Sometimes you have enough to eat and 
drink, at other times are rather short, eh ? Isn't it so ?" 

" Something so," said Tucker ; " only the poor-house is 
never over well fed." 

" No, no : so I understand. Well, how is it for warmth 
— are you warm enough ?" 

" Can't say we are," said Bill. " The house is old, and 



124 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

fuel light — clothes thin, rather — nights long. We feel 
cold nights." 

" Then yon don't have clothes enough ? You ought to 
have a blanket or two, and some tAvo or three comforters, 
to each bed." 

" Whew !" screamed Mag. " That's more than we've 
all got— ain't it, Dan ?" 

" Blankets and comforters are scarce in my quarters," 
said he, " the Lord knows." 

" Cold weather has come on rather suddenly, you 
know, Mrs. Prescott," said Mrs. Haddock, " and perhaps 
the Captain isn't prepared yet to make every thing as 
comfortable as he will by-and-bye." 

" We don't know how it is," said she, in reply ; " but 
my trust is in the Lord of Hosts. I know that this is a 
suffering world. The Lord Jesus suffered here. He 
had no where to lay his head. How much are we the 
better off than he, the Lord of Glory I" 

It seemed to flash like a new revelation from heaven 
into the minds of Mr. and Mrs. Haddock, that there was 
peculiar sin in suffering an institution so poorly (or 
badly) managed as this to exist among them ; and that 
this old saint, and others like her, would rise up at the 
last as swift witness against them if they neglected to 
do their work of mercy and reform — if they forgot the 
misery that some here suffered, who they believed were 
truly the children of God, and all undeserving the 
neglect of those who could relieve them. They re- 
solved in the future to do more for them than they had 
done hitherto. 

Jims now threw a fresh armful of brush on the fire, 
and a fine warm glow was diffused through the room. 
Just at this instant, who should blunder in but Captain 
Bunco, the merciful and humane landlord of this estab- 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 125 

lishment ! He was just enough in liquor to be good-hu- 
mored and familiar, and did not at first observe Mr. and 
Mrs. Haddock. 

" Well, now, I declare," said he, " if this isn't just the 
smilingest looking place I've been in for a week. Jims, 
give me a chair. Ah, Mr. Had — dock — and Mrs. Had- 
dock ! I vow, this is nice ! Why, how in the world did 
you get out this stormy night? I'll be hanged if I ain't 
dreadfully obliged to you, and glad to see you. Draw 
up by the fire. Now, ain't this sort of cheerful ? Jims, 
don't spare the wood ; put on the best you can find, and 
'nough on't. It's sort of cold out doors, but in here it's 
as warm and pleasant as a May morning. You see, our 
folks are pretty comfortable here, friend Haddock. Give 
me one of these large old-fashioned chimney fire-places, 
and plenty of wood, (Jims, put on the wood,) and it's a 
thousand times better than one of your modern six-by- 
eight close stoves for coal — ha! ha! ha! Don't you 
think so, Mr. Haddock ?" 

" I don't like small stoves very well, I allow ," said he. 

" You are just of my opinion," replied Bunce. " Stoves 
are unhealthy, coal is unhealthy, and every body is un- 
healthy who has any thing to do with them. Well, I'm 
right glad to see you, and you musn't say ' no,' you must 
both go in and make my wife a call when you leave. 
Here you see the ' folks ' are all doing charmingly, all 
growing fat, and young, and sprightly — how is it. Bill ?" 

" Yes, sir : bery ?" said the black with a slight nod of 
the head. 

" I thought so, ha ! ha ! ha I" shouted the Captain. 
" Well," said he, " suppose you just drop in and see us — 
hey ? — eh, Mrs. Haddock, what say ?" 

" I have no particular objection, if Mr. Haddock can 
spend the time." 



126 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

"Oh! hang the 'time.' 'Time' is nothing. I have more 
time on my hands than I want — absolutely so now. Why, 
my evenings are often as long, and dull as Bill's face, and 
it does me good to see a friend." 

"Before we leave," said Mr. Haddock, "perhaps you 
would like to see a little hoAv Boyce is getting on, for 
he appears to be sick, and I understand you sent him 
in a nice cup of hot tea to-night." 

" Did I, by jove, that's a new idea, ha ! ha ! I guess I 
did though, or, perhaps Mrs. Bunce and Hetty looked 
out for the poor souls. Boyce ! Boyce ! let's see, oh 1 the 
devil, yes, Boyce. He's a little in the dumj)a, but he'll 
rouse again in the morning as good as new. Aunt 
Prescott ! how's Boyce ?" 

" He's doing better, sir, I think." 

" Yes, that's the case," said the Captain, returning 
from his bedside. " You see he's all nice and warm, 
well blanketed, and fast asleep, doing well. He'll be as 
bright as a new cent in the morning ; we keep the folks 
here, Mr Haddock, all warm and comfortable these cold 
nights." 

" Then 3^ou aim to give them all a blanket, and 
warm bed-clothes ?" said Mr. Haddock. 

" Oh ! — of — course we keep them well-to-do these cold 
nights. (Put on the wood, Jims.) We get on them just 
as much as the poor critters will bear." 

" That's a lie," screamed Mag. 

" So it is, by ," said Dan and Tucker in a breath, 

and aunt Dorothy commenced a song forthwith. 

At this moment the door suddenly flew open, and in 
came Dick and Roxy, in a half angry scuffle without 
noticing the company present. 

The Captain, glad of any interruption, turned, and 
peremptorily inquired : " What's this mean, Dick ?" 



LIFE IN THE NOETHEKN POOK-SOUSE. 127 

" Oh ! nothing, only Rox and I have been on a gale this 
evening, and she's got my watch." 

" Take your watch, hatefulness," said she, throwing 
it at him, and disappeared up the stairs. 

Mr. and Mrs. Haddock, perceived that Captain Bunce 
was too much intoxicated, to make it profitable to talk 
with him or to prolong their visit. Under the excuse 
of the storm too, as they all left the house, they declined 
his pressing invitation to call at his residence, and as 
fast as possible, made their way home. 

The poor folks got through the night as they best 
could. Jims laid himself down by the fire on an old 
blanket, and kept the fire up through the night. Bill 
slept at the foot of the bed, and kept the sick man's 
feet warm. 

During its dark hours, an emigrant ship from Liver- 
pool went ashore on the Jersey coast, a perfect wreck. 
Few were saved of either crew or passengers ; among 
the latter, a lady and her child five years old, were res- 
cued and taken care of, of whom we may hear more by 
and bye. 

As soon as the storm subsided, Mr. Haddock conveyed 
Boyce to his own house, where under careful attention 
he in a little time be2:an to amend. 



128 NEW England's chattel's ; or, 



CHAPTER XII. 

The Ladies' Benevolent Society. Miss E. Flush, President. 

One of those very common and very praiseworthy 
modes of doing good, which accomplish by association of 
effort what is seldom brought about by the individual 
alone, which one society of ladies takes up after another, 
and so the action of the whole is as leaven, leavening 
the mass — one of these, we say, was in full and satisfac- 
tory experiment among the ladies of Crampton. It was 
two or three days, it might have been five, for it was on 
Friday evening that the storm came, and the ladies usu- 
ally met on Wednesday — call it five days then, after the 
visit of Mr. and Mrs. Haddock at the poor-house, that an 
unusually large number of ladies met at the house of 
Esquire Ben. Stout, prepared with thread and needlea 
to do a great amount of sewing before they separated. 

Mrs. Stout and her maiden sister. Miss Emeline Flush, 
particularly the latter, and Mrs. Stout's two daughters, 
Judith and Hope, were devotedly attached to this be- 
nevolent association. Not unfrequently they all went 
out and passed the afternoon session, and some of them 
the evening, let the meeting be where it might, indus- 
triously plying the needle, wielding the scissors, and im- 
parting as well as receiving information on the great 
point of Christian benevolence. 

It must be confessed that their aim and result were 
both alike good, and that the ladies generally were gov- 
erned by the highest considerations in their enterprise. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 129 

If they committed an error, it was in shooting beyond a 
point of necessity, and rendering help in one case to the 
neglect of another. But the Stouts, the Haddocks, the 
Phillips, the Boutwells, the Hayes, the Smiths, the New- 
combes, the Scranneys, the Shires, and the Lincolns, 
were most of them regarded as sensible and benevolent 
minded families, some of the ladies living daily to do 
good to their fellow-men, with some perhaps trifling dis- 
similarity of views as to the mode. On the Wednesday 
we have specified, the society met at Esq. Ben. Stout's. 
Mrs. Haddock and her daughters arrived a little later 
than usual, on account of driving round by the poor- 
house on their way, to make particular inquiries about 
the winter clothing of the paupers. The room was full 
of ladies, and they were, as usual at these sessions, chatty 
enough. 

Every body seemed very happy to see Mrs. Haddock 
and her daughters. They were indeed of great service 
in the society, Mrs. Haddock being one of the main offi- 
cers, and a sort of right arm to the enterprise, while 
Frances, her eldest daughter, was treasurer and secre- 
tary of the society. 

So the ladies fluttered around them on their arrival, 
and protested that they should have felt lonesome, and 
the work would not have been half done without them. 
Mrs. Stout said she never felt reconciled tc it if Mrs. 
Haddock was absent when the ladies held their meeting, 
especially if it was at her house. And Mrs. Haddock 
never thought for a moment of not coming, she regretted 
being late, but was unavoidably detained. Jane Phillips, 
one of the sweetest girls in Crampton, folded her friend 
Frances Haddock in her arms, and in a snug corner of 
the room they plied their needles and chatted together 
for a long time. 

6* 



130 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

Thirty or forty ladies, met together in a sewing circle, 
do a good deal of work. They also " work off" a large 
amount of conversation, and it is pleasing to be among 
them and to listen to the talk, if you cannot add to it. 

" 1 am told," said Miss Flush, " that after we complete 
our present work, and fill this box for the missionaries, 
Mr. Longwell, the merchant, wishes the society to en- 
gage to sew for him the next three months." 

'• Why, Miss Flush !" exclaimed several voices. 

'* Is it possible !" 

" Can it be true ?" inquired others at the same time. 
, " Yes," said Miss Flush, " he applied to me this morn- 
ing, and said he had a contract with a city jobber for 
three hundred summer coats, pants, and vests, for the 
spring trade, and five hundred shirts and bosoms." 

" Did you ever see such luck !" exclaimed several. 

" It is most too good to be^rue," said others. 

" It shows us," said Mrs. Haddock, " that if we are 
willing to busy ourselves to do good, we shall not be de- 
prived of the opportunity." 

" How true, Mrs. Haddock," replied Mrs. Ben. Stout. 

" I wish we could go right about it," said one. 

" How much will Mr. Longwell be willing to pay us 
for the work ?" inquired Mrs. Phillips. 

" Of course that will depend on the style of the 
sewing, and on the quality and cut of the garments. He 
will give us twenty-five cents each for shirts made in 
good style, w^ith bosoms and wristbands, the work all. 
cut out ; and twenty-five cents each for thin pants and 
vests cut, and fifty cents for best coats." 

The ladies all stopped their w^ork and listened during 
this recital, and resumed it again, with sundry exclama- 
tions; as Miss Flush finished speaking. 

"It is a good deal of money, doubtless," said old Mry. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 131 

Hayes, looking over lier spectacles, and furrowing up 
her forehead, as she smiled round the room ; " but, ladies, 
when I was young, we never made a coat for less than 
a dollar, nor pants for less than fifty cents ; while every 
body gave us fifty cents to make a shirt." 

" Well, nobody gives now as much as formerly, you 
know, Mrs. Hayes," pleasantly put in Mrs. Stout. " Be- 
sides, the cloth is different, and the sewing is different. 
We hurry off work now-a-days ; in those old times, it 
was a week's work to earn a dollar." 

Mrs. Hayes said the times were different, she knew. 

The ladies thought they could make something by Mr. 
Longwell's job, although the prices were low. It was a 
great relief to have the work all cut and ready for them ; 
and besides, every one would know before hand just 
what work was to be undertaken. 

" How much longer will it take us, Miss Flush," inquired 
Mrs. Haddock, " to finish our present work for the mis- 
sionaries ?" 

" I do not know exactly. Shouldn't you think, Miss 
Lincoln and Mrs. Smith, that we might get this work 
done in two weeks ?" 

Mrs. Smith hadn't thought much about it. She now 
began to consider, and to reckon up and form her esti- 
mates. 

" Why, Miss Flush," said she, " we have three pair of 
sheets made already ; we have two pair of gent's pants, 
and three pair boy's pants, and two vests done. We 
have two ladies' dresses, two thick quilts, three flannel 
petticoats, four chemise, four night-gowns, six pair stock- 
ings, caps, gloves, thread, needles, shoes, embroidered 
slippers, two bed-blankets, one large bed-quilt — these 
are all ready, you know — and this one in the works. 
Then there are making four shirts, four under-shirts 



132 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

three pair stockings, ten towels, two children's frocks, 
and a silk mantilla. Yes, I should think — shouldn't you, 
Mrs. New' ton and Mrs. Phillips ? — I rather think in two 
meetings more we may get through. I haven't thought 
of it. What do you think. Miss Flush ?" 

Miss Flush thought they might in three, if not in two. 
So thought Mrs. Smith ; and this seemed to be the pre- 
vailing opinion, all the ladies putting their work in their 
laps, and listening to Mrs. Smith's summary of their 
labors with opened eyes and mouths. 

" Did you ever see such an amount of work done by 
the society before ?" inquired Jane Phillips of her friend, 
Frances Haddock. 

" It's a great deal, I tell you," said she, with a little 
shake of her head, and a soberish expression, as she plied 
faster and faster her needle. 

" I do think," said Mrs. Newton, " that we shall make 
some good Christian missionary and his family very 
comfortable indeed, when our box is received by them." 

" Undoubtedly !" exclaimed Mrs. Stout, in the fulness 
of her zeal and faith. Now Mrs. Stout kept running out 
and in all the time, as she was very busy with her ser- 
vant and girls, preparing the ladies' tea. In some soci- 
eties of this kind tea and biscuit are dispensed with, the 
ladies working hard and eating nothing, to save trouble 
and unnecessary charges. But it was not so here. 
Every lady at her house gave her friends a good tea ; 
and that custom we, for some reason, seem to like best 
ourselves. 

Mrs. Stout fully believed that the box of clothing, etc., 
etc., they were preparing for the missionaries, would do 
some poor individuals, laboring in much want and 
trouble, "a deal of good" — full as much good- as the 
labor cost to prepare it protracted through the last half 



LIFE IN TilE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 133 

of the year — and so doubtless it might. Mrs. Stout 
gave her principal attention to this box of clothing for 
the missionaries, and was a little surprised, on coming 
into the room, to hear the ladies conversing about their 
own poor in the town. 

Mrs. Phillips said there was a family in her neighbor 
hood of very decent people, who were sick and in rathei 
reduced circumstances, who she knew were in w^ant of 
clothing, and another family she had heard of who were 
short of provisions. 

" Oh, well, Mrs. Phillips, the poor we always have 
with us, you know," said Mrs. Stout ; " and for my part, 
I hope the ladies will let nobody suffer ; though it seems 
to me we had better get off the box before we attempt 
to do much for any other persons." 

" It is true that we may weaken all our plans by hav- 
ing too many," said Mrs. Phillips ; " but as it is now 
cold weather, and they immediately need some help, I 
think we had better consider their case, especially as wo 
do not know where the box is to be sent ; and it is some- 
what doubtful whether it will now get forwarded at all 
till the spring opens." 

" Oh, let us labor in hope, dear Mrs. Phillips," said the 
other. " Nothing casts a greater gloom over a society 
than discouraging intimations of that sort. Now I firml}^ 
believe the box will be immediately despatched — the 
committee are so much in want of clothing, and are so 
pressing in their demands. But, dear me ! I forgot 
my " 

And away flew Mrs. Stout to look after her scorching 
biscuit. 

The discussion of the poor families in town went on ; 
and it saddened the heart of Mrs. Haddock as the theme 
changed to that of fashions and dress in particular, to 



134 NEW England's chattels ; ok, 

see liow entirely forgotten were the wretched, miserable 
paupers at that very moment sulTering the ills of poverty 
in the poor-house of Crampton. 

When the conversation allowed it, she informed Miss 
Flush that one reason why she had inquired about the 
time that would be required to complete the missionary 
work, was from a desire that the ladies might afterwards, 
if they saw fit, do some work for " that other class of 
poor people in town, quite often overlooked, the town 
paupers." 

" The poor creatures 1" exclaimed Mrs. Smith, ^.Irs. 
Newton, Miss Lincoln, Miss Flush, both the Misses 
Scranney, and Mrs. Shire. 

" I forgot entirely there were any such persons among 
us," said Miss Flush, the president of the society. 

" And I am sure I never considered that it was our 
duty to look after the town poor," said Mrs. Shire. 

" No, nor I," said Mrs. Smith. " Does not the town 
support them, Mrs. Haddock ?" 

. " The town nominally takes care of the paupers," said 
she. " It pays Captain Bunco so many dollars a year to 
support them ; but it makes no adequate provision for 
their enjoyment and comfort." 

" Why, I am utterly surprised to hear of that 1" said 
Mrs. Newton. " My husband has repeatedly, time and 
again, informed me that the town was very generous in 
its support of the poor. He says it is a great tax on 
the people, and that they feel it." 

" I don't know he w that is," replied Mrs. Haddock, 
" but I do know that the poor in that institution have 
been, many of them, in circumstances far more comfort- 
able than they now are — as the widow Prescott, for 
example, whose husband was once a deacon in this 
church — and that they now are in great want of the 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 135 

most common clothing, of nourishing food, and comfort- 
able rooms ; in short, of every thing to make life to one 
of us desirable." 

Mrs. Stout had again entered. She was overwhelmed 
at the statement. Her husband was one of the over- 
seers of the poor, and she didn't know how many, 
many times he had told her, that the paupers were 
leading a very comfortable life of it for them. " He 
always said, however," she continued, " that they were 
a rather depraved set of beings, and past hope, that 
we couldn't do much, if anything to improve them." 

" Mrs. Stout," said her friend, " I have been among 
them often. I called there to-day, on my ride here. I 
know that they are in the most pitiable plight in the 
world. It is true that many of them are morally 
depraved, and almost hopeless of good, perhaps entirely 
so as they now are, but among them there are very 
decent persons, whose greatest crime is that they are 
unmeasurably poor, and friendless, and weak-mifided. 
They are as low in poverty as any body can ever get in 
this world, being wholly dependent on charity for every 
comfort or necessary they enjoy. We have by great 
exertion induced Captain Bunco to allow us to take 
home one of the sick men, Mr. Boyce — you don't know 
him, do you ?" 

Every body was silent — no one seemed to recollect 
the name. 

" True," she went on to say, " you don't know him. 
But in our village library, and on more than one of your 
parlor tables, ladies, I have seen a popular work, of which 
he is the author — at the present time, without a change 
of clothes, without flannels, without good shoes, or hat, 
with nearly worn out coat and pants, in poor feeble 
health, and weak in mind, Boyce is one of the paupers. 
We have him now under our roof." 



136 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

Mrs. Hays raised both her hands and eyes in astonish- 
ment, so did Mrs. Newton, Miss Flush, Miss Lincoln, and 
every other lady, for Mrs. Haddock enjoyed their confi- 
dence and respect. They all again, and again, protest- 
ed their utter ignorance of any such circumstance of 
poverty among them, and showered on Mrs. Haddock 
their thanks for taking care of him. They had no idea 
there was any particular suffering there, the more espe- 
cially as Captain Bunce was said to be a very humane 
sort of a man. 

" It is true of them, my friends," said Mrs. Haddock, 
" that they all want warmer under-clothing than they 
now have, and warmer bedding. They are very poorly 
protected against the approaching cold weather, having 
nothing to wear, that is different from their fall and sum- 
mer clothing. And we know that such feeble and aged 
persons cannot live so." 

The conversation was interrupted, by the arrival of 
the pastor Avith his wife. The usual salutations were 
forthwith gone into, and a happy smile diffused itself 
over the group, as the new comers exerted themselves 
to say something agreeable to every one. Nor had 
they been long present, ere Mrs. Stout again, and again 
appearing, now announced 'tea.' The whole company 
gathered around the well loaded tables of Mrs. Stout, 
and Mr. Rodman, their pastor, implored the Divine 
blessing. Then as afterwards in his prayer, he was 
careful to remember the poor, on whom he implored the 
best mercies of heaven. But it was evident to Mrs. 
Haddock, and to nearly every other lady present, whose 
mind had been aroused to think of the paupers, that 
his petitions had no reference whatever to them, but to 
the icortliier poor in the families about town, or to the 
great family of poverty, represented, not in the tangible 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 137 

poor-houses, but in the mere idea of poverty, which the 
mind is wont to indulge on that subject. " "We in our 
prayers for the poor," thought she, " pray either for 
those we cannot reach, a class of humanity in the ab- 
stract, or for those among us, but little our inferiors, to 
assist whom confers honor on ourselves. We overlook 
the poor who cannot recompense us again." 

When a fit opportunity oifered, she again brought up 
the subject, and particularly to the notice of her pastor. 

" Well," said he, " this is a singular state of things in- 
deed. I have long been aware of the incongruity of our 
poor-house system and our Christian benevolence, but I 
have never seen the thing exactly right, have never felt, 
acted, prayed aright over it." 

" We have all, Mr. Rodman, too much overlooked this 
class of our fellow-beings. If they are old offenders and 
morally vile, they are still worthy of Christian commis- 
eration and effort. And certainly there ought to be 
some arrangement to separate the more depraved and 
hardened of both sexes from the society of those who 
are simply the victims of misfortune, without any loss of 
virtuous and moral principle — and especially ought the 
more youthful, the boys and girls, to be kept separate 
from the older inmates who are vulgar and profane." 

Mrs. Haddock told the ladies that if they were willing 
to devote any time to relieve the wants of the poor by 
sewing, she should be happy to unite with them, and 
would invite them to her house. Several professed a 
willingness to do so. But Miss Flush thought the ladies 
had better finish the missionary box first, and in this 
opinion some others warmly coincided. Mrs. Shire, a 
little aside, declared that as for the old paupers, they 
were a miserable, swearing, drinking set any way, and 
slic had seen enough of them. Many of the ladies, how- 



138 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

ever, promised immediately to send Mrs. Haddock par- 
cels of second-hand clothing for them, and this promise 
was not entirely broken. She was able to make several 
of the poor creatures far more comfortable than they had 
been, through the liberality of her friends. 

But Mrs. Haddock was not permitted to have the whole 
ground to herself. By-and-bye in came Mr. Ben. Stout 
himself, first selectman of Crampton, overseer of the 
poor, etc., etc. Of course Mr. Stout knew every thing 
that any body else did about the paupers, and a little 
more — certainly much more than any lady of the town 
could be supposed to. 

Rev. Mr. Rodman appealed to Mr. Stout in behalf of 
the poor, and asked if something more could not be done 
for them.' 

" As for that matter," said he in reply, " there is a 
great deal of what we may call mawkish sympathy ex- 
pressed in behalf of these paupers. Now we must admit 
that they are human beings. This is an evident truth. 
Secondly : They are poor and miserable. No one can 
deny this. Thirdly : They have made themselves so — 
almost equally a self-evident truth. Fourthly : They 
' need help. Now, in my opinion, these are the important 
points in their history, and cover the whole ground. 
Out of this summary grows the following idea, viz., ' It's 
the duty of the town to support the paupers.' We come, 
then, to view the matter from this very clear point, and 
we see that what is the duty of the town, is not the duty 
of the individual. So, as an individual, I feel no respon- 
sibility in this case. As a member of the community, I 
give my vote to lay a tax sufficient to answer all the rea- 
sonable charges of this unfriended class of persons, and 
commit the keeping of them, for a valuable consideration, 
to A, B, or C, as the case may be. If, then, I have done 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 139 

my duty as a man of the community, what further call 
can there in reason be made on me, eh ?" 

" Ah — well — er — " said the minister, being a little be- 
fogged. 

" Yes, you see it's just here. They are hopelessly 
poor, and w-ant boosting all the time. Now we can't be 
always running after them. They are done with. Soci- 
ety can't expect any thing further from them. And all 
we can do, you know, Mrs, Haddock, it's about so, after 
all — all we can do, is to put them where they'll be, on the 
whole, in a comfortable sort of a condition ; eh, say so ?" 

Mrs. Haddock couldn't bear that their clergyman 
should carry away just that impression of the paupers 
from so respectable a source likewise, and she answered 
Mr. Stout as a Christian woman should. 

" But, my dear sir, these are our own fellow-beings. 
They are poor and dependent, I admit, and are, some of 
them, even vicious and ill-deserving ; but ours is a duty 
not so easily surrendered to the town, as 3'ou seem to 
regard it. We certainly, as a town, are in duty bound 
to take care of them, and to show them such care as is 
worthy the name ; but as individuals who receive daily 
mercies from God, and mercies we do not, nor can de- 
serve, we are bound to reach out to them the helping- 
hand, and to make their path to the grave as comfortable 
as lies in our power." 

Mr. Rodman assented to this. He now began to get 
the fog a little from his eyes, and his heart began to re- 
spond to the earnest pleadings of gospel mercy. But 
Esq. Stout maintained that we might feel too deeply, 
and do too much. " The fact is, Mrs. Haddock, where'll 
you stop ? There must be some stopping-place, you 
know. , Now give old Tucker and Polly a new dress to- 
day, and they'll want another to-morrow. Give Jims a 



140 NEW England's c battels ; or, 

new suit this fall, and he must have another next spring. 
And so you go on : no stopping-place, you see, if you 
once begin." 

" Then ought we to begin at all, Mr. Stout, if we can 
not pursue our intentions to the end ? I do not see how 
the town may feel liberated from a full and proper care 
of the poor, if it assumes it at the first." 

" It is something so," said the Squire. " And I — am — 
rather of the opinion — that is — I have been so — that 
you Avill find, on inquiry, that our poor folks are, on the 
ivliole — you understand, we must lump these things, you 
know — about as well cared for as the poor ever are — or 
can be. It costs the town seven hundred dollars to take 
care of them : that's a large sum in these days. And 
really, Mrs. Haddock, what do they want ?" 

This was said with such an earnest manner, and be- 
trayed so true ignorance of their real condition, that she 
replied, directl}- — 

" They uxint the very things the toivn pays for T 

The countenance of Squire Stout immediately fell. 
His conscience told him she was right, and that the 
town had bargained for the support of its helpless poor, 
to take suitable care of them — meaning good and kind 
care — but that its chief desire, after all, had been to 
hire them out, so as to cost the town the least possible 
sum, so as to be sure of hearing nothing further of 
them. 

" Yes," said slie — and all the other ladies listened, and 
now and then said a few words — " the town, Mr. Stout, 
Welshes them kept in a suitable manner, and pays seven 
hundred dollars that they may be so kept. But is it 
fulfilling the contract to pinch them in fuel, bedding, 
nursing, and medicine, and to feed them on the ^coarsest 
of beef, and the very worst pieces of the slaughter- 



- LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 141 

house? on unmerchantable ham and pork, on tainted 
butter, and food, in general, revolting to the taste ? 
But the poor here, and every where in similar circum- 
stances, are so kept." 

" Oh — well — hang it, Mrs. Haddock — but then, you 
see — they are a plaguy ugly set to have any thing to 
do with. And God — in mercy to them, as I think — has 
made them less sensitive to these matters than other 
folks are, so they wouldn't mind it at all — as we may 
say — if — that is, I rather think so — if somebody didn't 
tell them of it. Don't you think so, Mr. Rodman ?" 

Like all clergymen, Rev. Mr. Rodman felt himself a 
sort of town pauper, dependent on the salary which the 
good will of his people gave him. That salary was small 
enough, in all good reason, as he well knew, to meet his 
wants ; but it was better than none, and he honestly 
believed it was fairly his due. Squire Stout Avas one of 
his particular friends, and he did not like to differ from 
him in a point where the Squire might be supposed to 
have some sensitiveness. On the other hand, Mrs. Had- 
dock was also one of his particularly kind friends, and a 
lady of very great superiority of character. He did not 
know at first what to say, and he was on the point of 
taking the usual course of half this and half that, attempt- 
ing some pacificatory remarks, when he encountered 
the mildly beaming eye and calm, expressive countenance 
of his own wife, who sat at her ease among the ladies, a 
little at the other side of the room. Mr. Rodman was 
not the only one who, in like circumstances, has felt a 
wife's support ; even though she may not offer a word, 
her look has often been enough to strengthen the heart 
of one who trusteth in her. And so Mr. Rodman, as he 
encountered the calm, yet speaking countenance of his 
wife, read there in an instant his duty, and replied, as 
anv m;n ought — 



142 NEW ENG. aND's CHATTELS ; OR, 

" I think, Squire Stout, that it is our duty to befriend 
them, to repent of our indifference to them, and for the 
future, to treat them as though they were bone of our 
bone and flesh of our flesh. They certainly deserve 
from this Christian community every degree of atten- 
tion consistent with our means ; and so far are they, in 
my opinion, from wanting in sensitiveness on this jDoint, 
they feel, more than any body else can feel for them, 
their degradation and sufferings." 

Mrs. Rodman rewarded her husband with a smile and 
a tear. Mrs. Haddock and Mr. Stout prolonged the 
conversation awhile, the latter affirming that there must 
be some mistake in Mrs. Haddock's estimate of their 
sufferings and destitution, because Captain Bunco was 
a merciful and humane man. He however said that he 
would, some time or other, call down and see him, and 
look over the establishment. 

After this, the ladies became interested in some vil- 
lage gossip, chatted merrily with the gentlemen who 
arrived, estimated their missionary work, as usual, at a 
high figure, and laid many a plan for the future building 
up of their society through the instrumentality of the 
needle. Every body said it had been a most interesting 
society-day, and so one by one the party left. 

" And who are all these grand folks, \ wonder, flour- 
ishing about with their fur caps, and bonnets, and buf- 
falo skins, and fine sleighs and tinkling bells ? "Wonder 
if they ever think of poor folks ? Wonder if they ever 
was poor ? Wonder if they ever had a father or mother 
to take care of them ? They don't care for me, I know ; 
nor do I care for them. They are proud, I know ; they 
are rich, I s'pose. But who makes them rich ? Wonder 
if they'd be rich if I were to burn down their houses ? 
Good mind to ; they don't prize their houses. They 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-KOUSE. 143 

don't deserve them, neither, as I can see. What do 
they care for poor Bojce or aunt Prescott ? "Who cared 
for Joe ? Nobody. Mag says they are mean. Who 
cares for Jims ? Who gives him any thing but kicks 
and sneers? Jims's as good as any on 'em. Here's a 
match I I'm almost minded to burn down this shed and 
store ! I can set it a-fire — nobody'll see me — nobody'll 
care. Here's some straw ; it'll blaze in half a minute. 
I will !" 

The poor neglected Jims — for it was he — strayed off 
from home, and shivering under a shed, among the 
horses, w^here he had a view of the people going to and 
coming from this festive society, thus soliloquized and 
reasoned. The boy had never done any thing so bad as 
this which he now began to contemplate. He had com- 
mitted little thefts, and been guilty of sundry smaller 
wicked actions ; but now he took the match in his hand, 
impelled by the spirit of evil, and stealthily approached 
the corner of the shed where he had observed the loose 
straw. He was acting wildly, against his conscience, 
but in accordance with his hatred and revenge. Just 
as he stooped down to light the match, the low growd of 
a dog half covered in the straw arrested him, and caused 
him to start back. 

" Poor dog !" said he, " I don't want to disturb you, I 
wouldn't burn your house down for the world. You and 
I are somewhat alike. And see how the poor dog 
whines now ! He seems glad that I won't hurt him. 
Perhaps the dog know^s me ! Wonder if he's heard my 
thoughts 1 Dogs, they say, are knowing." And then a 
rooster on the beam overhead crowed, and the hens rus- 
tled as though disturbed ; and another dog in the neigh- 
borhood set up a piteous, moaning bark. Jims was 
startled. He cast the match into the snow, and pulling 



144 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

his cap over his face, and his loose roundabout closely to 
his body, rushed out into the open air, and as fast as pos- 
sible made his way to the poor-house. 

Arrived there, he threw himself panting on the rude 
bed in the kitchen, by the side of Bill, and rolling him- 
self all up that no body might see him, after a long, long 
time, in which he vowed he would never do anything so 
wicked again if he lived a thousand years, he fell asleep. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 145 



CHAPTER XIII. 

Pike. Water is the natural element with which to oppose fire. The circumstances 
must be quite unfavorable, therefore, wh€n it remains unextinguished even in 
the presence of this agent. 

" What do yon think the town of Crampton 's coming 
to, when a poor tax of two per cent, isn't enough to keep 
the paupers, eh ?" inquired Mr. George Shire of his 
neighbors, Mr. Peter Newcombe and Timothy Smith. 

" For my part," said Mr. Newcombe, " I say it's a pkguy 
shame. If two per cent, on the grand list of Crampton 
ain't enough to support the wretches, let them get their 
living elsewhere, or beg or starve — two per cent. 1 Why 
that's enough to buy a farm. It raises eight hundred 
dollars, and I regard it all as about so much thrown 
away." 

" Yes," said Mr. Smith, ^' all them folks down thar is a 
pack of scamps. They's had good times once, and now 
'cause they're poor the town of Crampton must jest fork 
over and pay expenses. It's darned hard for poor and 
honest citizens to pull out their own eye teeth for sich 
stuff." 

" WeH, they say," continued Shire, " that we ve got to 
come to it and pay more." 

" Who says so ?" inquired Smith. 

" There's Haddock, you know" — 

" Haddock ! Go to thunder," said Newcombe. 

" Haddock and Phillips are always grumbling," said 
Smith. 

7 



146 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" The women are wide awake, they say," said Shire. 

" Blast the w^omen, I say," said Newcombe. 

" They're always meddling about things they don't un- 
derstand," said Smith. " But I can tell you of one avo- 
man who don't go for more charity to paupers, that's 
Mrs. Smith." 

" Good I" said Newcombe. " But my wife has got in- 
doctrinated some how or other, and thinks ifs a sin (I) 
to show charity to any body else under the sun before 
we look out for our own poor." 

" Pshaw ! pshaw ! Got that notion at the sewing so- 
ciety. These sewing societies, I begin to think, are bad 
things," said Shire. " They lead the women to ' go it 
blind' into benevolence, and if any body says a word to 
the contrary, why he's little better than an infidel, even 
if he belongs to the church." 

" You can't get along now-a-days," said Smith, " with- 
out running every thing into religion. The minister 
and the church take it up. I shouldn't wonder if our 
minister got hold of this thing next, and went to preach- 
ing on it." 

" Why, he has already got hold of it," said Shire, " my 
wife tells me that he and Squire Ben had the warm- 
est talk on it, at the sewing society there, she ever 
heard." 

" Well, ministers had hettcr let such things alone,^' said 
Newcombe. '* What business is it to them?" 

" It ain't gospel preaching," said the other, " to find 
fault with the town about paupers, ha ! ha ! ha !" 

(All.) "Ha! ha! ha!' 

" No, by thunder," said Smith. •' Guess he's a man of 
too much sense, to bring it into the pulpit, any how." 

" If he does bring it into the pulpit, my word for't the 
town won't stand it," said Shire. " I kept the poor one 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 147 

year myself, you know ? Glad enough, was I to get rid 
of them. They're a squalid, dirty, profane, drunken, 

broken-down set of old c s, as ever trod the face of 

the earth. As for deserving more help and a world of 
pity, now I know better.' And I'm the last man that'll 
vote another cent to keep them." 

" I'm another," said Smith. 

" And I, ditto," said Newcombe. 

" There goes that little scamp, Jims Tucker," said 
Shire. " He's off now on some plundering excursion, I'll 
bet you a dollar. Hulloa ! Jims. How goes the times 
at Captain Bunco's, eh ?" 

Jims, a poorly dressed tall boy of twelve years of age, 
with a slouching hat, and a hanging look about him, drew 
up at this address, and feeing Mr. Shire, looked him 
straight in the eye, and answered, "First rate, sir, got a 
flogging this morning." 

" Got a flogging, did you, what's that for, eh ?" 

" Oh, for grumbling and sauce." 

" Then }ou think you deserved it, eh ? Well, it's half 
to own up, Jims. Who flogged you ?"' 

" Well, Captain Bunco ended it." 

" ' Ended it,' who began it, pray?" 

" Mistress Bunce herself, said she'd teach me to hook 
chickens, ha! ha! ha! good." 

'"Hook chickens?" 

"Yes— Why ?" 

" You don't steal chickens, I hope ?" 

" How in the world shall we get 'um then ? We don't 
own any birds. We've got no money to buy 'um. How 
bhall we get 'um ?" 

" Then let them alone." 

" Yes, and the foxes would steal them then." 

" And do you call yourself as mean as a fox ?" 



148 NEW England's chattels ; or. 

" I wish I was half as cunning, by George, wouldn't! 
have a chicken now and then : golly, I would." 

" Well, Jims, you have enough to wear, and enough 
to eat, now-a-days, I believe." 

" All I've got or want to wear, is what you see on me, 
and we have every day some of Savage's salt beef, that 
wants pounding on an anvil under a trip hammer, before 
it can be eaten. The old sow died last week, and we're 
smoking her shoulders and hams for us now. The Cap- 
tain says we need good, hearty, substantial food." 

All the men laughed heartily at this, but Jims was 
sober. 

" Where you going now, Jims ?" inquired Shire. 

" Going a fishing," said the boy. 

"'Fishing?'" 

" Yes, up to the old pond, through the ice." 

" What for ?" 

" For Mr. Boyce — he that's sick, you know." 

" Boyce ! sick I and so forth, and so forth," ejaculated 
Shire. " Who's Boyce, pray ?" 

" Don't you know Boyce, the great author ?" 

" Well, if I do, I've forgotten about him. How long's 
he been there ? How old's he ?" 

" He's been there two or three years, I s'pose. He 
ain't very old — not over thirty or fifty, I reckon." 

" Oh, well, I don't seem to recollect the dog. He's a 
state-prison fellow, ain't he ?" 

" No, he ain't a ' state-prison fellow,' nor a 'dog,' either, 
you old scamp. He knows as much as a dozen like you, 
and Mr. Haddock's trying to get him well." 

" Just none of your sauce, boy, to me," said Shire, 
shaking him by the collar, "or I'll give you another 
flogging that'll make you stand round. Do you hear ? 
I know you of old, you little villain I" 



LIFE IX THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 149 

Jims gave a sudden spring as Shire said this ; and 
leaving a portion of his garment in his grasp, fled out of 
his reach, and catching up a stick or club that lay on 
the snow, hurled it at him with all the strength of his 
arm. Shire was obliged to dodge quickly to avoid it ; 
and before he could seize and throw it back, the wild 
boy had dodged behind a house, and was swiftly bound- 
ing away over the fields. 

" A vicious, good-for-nothing young devil !" said Shire. 
" I know him well, and his mother before him." 

" Who was she ?" inquired Newcombe. 

" She was old Tucker's daughter, Annie Sue, who died 
in the poor-house the year the paupers were in my 
hands. She was a roving, hard thing, and Jims is just 
like her. Somebody's his father, but nobody owns him 
I believe. He's a young villain, any how." 

In an hour from this, Jims had reached the frozen 
pond, and with a hatchet, concealed under his round- 
about, had cut a hole in the ice large enough to fish. 
He had borrowed a fish-line of a boy in the neighbor- 
hood, and determined to catch some trout for Boyce, and 
take them to him at Mr. Haddock's. 

Long and carefully the boy watched for his wily vic- 
tims ; but at length he caught two or three fine fish, 
weighing, one of them, more than half a pound ; and 
ere nightfall, he had reached in safety the house of Mr. 
Haddock. 

It is unnecessary to say that poor Boyce rejoiced to 
see them. Every body admired the trout, and Jims felt 
a thousand times rewarded for his long, cold tramp and 
watching to procure them. Jims received something 
more than thanks, too, and was sent home only after 
eating a hearty supper, which he devoured with the 
eagerness of a hungry wolf. 



150 NEW ENGLAND'S CHATTELS ; OR, 

It was past nine o'clock when the boy left Mr. Had- 
dock's. He hurried on towards the poor-house ; and as 
the snow^ was not deep, took a cross cut that led him 
close by Captain Bunco's lower barn, filled with hay and 
grain. Young cattle were in the yard, and a well-beaten 
path led right from it to the house. Just as the boy 
was about to turn the corner of the large stone wall and 
get into the path, he observed a man stealthily creeping 
through the bars, and then hastily hurrying along the 
path towards the house of Captain Bunco. The night 
was not so dark but that Jims could see his precise form 
and movements. He knew in a moment who the man 
w^as ; and to avoid him, made a new path for himself to 
the main road in another direction, through the untrod- 
den snow. As he leaped over the fence into it, he en- 
countered Dan slowly plodding his way homeward, with 
a bag of cold victuals slung over his shoulder, the pro- 
ceeds of a day's work of begging. 

The two paupers made their way into the poor-house, 
and raking open the hot ashes in the fire-place, were 
warming and drying their feet when they were startled 
with the cry of " Fire !" 

This is always, especially in the country, a very exci- 
ting, as it is there a somewhat unusual alarm. It awa- 
kens from sleep every body in great terror, and all, both 
men and women, hurry in the greatest trembling to the 
scene of the conflagration. And when there, they do lit- 
tle besides look on and utter exclamations of surprise 
and sorrow at the occurrence. The alarming cry of 
" Fire ! fire ! fire !" began in the neighborhood of it, soon 
had its echo and reecho on every side. And away it 
rolled to the village, and soon the bells of the town took 
it up, and all Crampton was astir and pell-mell for the 
locality of the startling scene. Riders in sleighs and on 



LIFE m THE NOKTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 151 

horseback hurried away at fullest speed, crying, as they 
rode and ran, " fire ! fire ! fire !" Men and women and 
boys hurried along on foot, venturing opinions as to 
where and what the fire was, and how and when it broke 
out, who caused it, and what the motive was. And in a 
very short space of time there were four or five hundred 
people gathered around the burning pile, who could do 
little else than look on as the flames fiercely consumed 
the building, reducing it in an incredibly short time 
with all its contents to ashes. 

The building thus destroyed was Captain Bunco's 
lower barn, filled with hay and grain, and having some 
young cattle in the yard, which were driven out through 
the bars by the first who arrived on the premises. So 
the loss was confined to the hay and grain, and the build- 
ing. There Avas an insurance on the whole, but Captain 
Bunco thought only about half enough to save him. 

Before many of the people had arrived on the ground, 
some curious persons, always on the alert to spy out and 
detect the parties in transactions involving criminal con- 
duct, had observed in the snow the fresh tracks made 
that very evening by Jims, in his return home from Mr. 
Haddock's. 

Rumors were of course rife that the fire was the work 
of an incendiary. Captain Bunce knew of no body visit- 
ing the barn that evening with a lantern or any light 
whatsoever, and it was generally conceded that the barn 
had been fired by some one with evil intentions. 

It was very easy, of course, to identify the foot-tracks 
of Jims, and he was suspected and believed to have 
caused the fire. 

The agents of the insurance company came the next 
day on to the ground, and settled with Captain Bunce 
the amount of damages he should receive, if every thing 



152 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

appeared satisfactory in regard to the manner of the fire. 
The policy of insurance was for nine hundred dollars, 
three hundred on the barn, three hundred on the hay, 
and thr^e hundred on the grain. As the Captain couldn't 
positively swear to the amount of hay and grain, he was 
content to call the whole loss seven hundred dollars. 
This showed that he was fully insured. 

Poor Jims 1 What a dismal condition he was now in ! 
HoAV many circumstances all lay flatly against him 1 The 
motive ? Revenge for the flogging he had received, and 
for other instances of ill treatment. The proof? His 
absence in the evening ; his return just before the fire 
occurred ; his track in the snow to the barn-yard wall, 
and thence to the street ; his own confession that he re- 
turned at that hour across the field ; the testimony of 
Mr. Haddock, unwillingly given, that he left his house 
at the time specified. 

Jims had now enough to sadden him, and almost drive 
him to despair. He was shut up by himself, and com- 
pelled to reflect long and bitterly on his unhappy con- 
dition. But there were two sources of comfort that he 
enjoyed, and they contributed very much to carry him 
calmly through his trial. The first was the full con- 
sciousness of his innocence. He knew, absolutely, that 
of the crime with which he w^as charged he was not 
guilty. The second was the reflection that, only a short 
time previously, he had made a firm resolve, having 
escaped a temptation, that he would never do an act of 
this nature if he were to live a thousand years. So it 
had never entered his thoughts to fire the barn. 

At the very first of the suspicions against Jims, Mr. 
Haddock had sought him out, and in a private interview 
had draw^n from him a full recital of the whole day's 
history, including the circumstance of seeing a man 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 153 

stealing out of the barn-yard as he was ready to pass it. 
He also obtained the name of the person, but enjoined 
it on Jims by no means to mention it, or the fact of see- 
ing him, till he should direct. Mr. Haddock was fully 
persuaded of the boy's innocence. How to make it ap- 
pear, was a work of some study. 



154 NEW ex^'iland's CHAZTELS . OK, 



CHAPTER XIV. 

The Little Incendiary. Be very careful how you stand up for an Incendiary. The 
Partaker is as bad as the Thief, you linow. 

Of course, the next two or three days there was a 
good deal of talk about the burning of Captain Bunce's 
barn. That it was the work of an incendiary, no one 
seemed to entertain the least doubt ; while the general 
opinion was equally decisive, that the cause of all the 
trouble was the vicious young pauper, Jims Tucker. 

Before the insurance company was willing to pay over 
even the seven hundred dollars agreed on as the amount 
of damage to the Captain, they insisted on an examina- 
tion before a justice of the peace. Accordingly, although 
Captain Bunce was willing to waive this, and rather 
thought by taking up with seven hundred it would not 
be pressed — the Captain shrinking from public notori- 
ety ! also being a merciful and humane man ! But an 
examination was ordered, and it was held, with all due 
legal forms, before Squire Ben Stout. 

The object of the insurance company by the examina- 
tion, was simply to ascrrtain whether Captain Bunce 
was directly or indirectly concerned in firing the barn — 
not to ascertain the guilty party, if other than he, and 
procure a conviction. And they, in prosecuting their 
inquiries, were especially anxious to save themselves 
the payment of the loss. 

Accordingly, Captain Bunce was called to the stand, 
and put through a very rigid examination. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-DOUSE. 155 



" You were insured, Captain Bunce, in the 



companj, on jour barn, for nine hundred dollars ?" said 
Lawyer Ketchum. 

" On the barn and contents — yes." 

" True — 3"es. Well, sir, would this cover the whole 
value, at any one time, since the policy was made out ?" 

Lawyer Tools objected. This was " a leading ques- 
tion involving Captain Bunce's private pecuniary con- 
cerns : it could not properly come up." 

Lawyer Ketchum wished " to know what this investi- 
gation was ordered for, if not to look into a question of 
a pecuniary nature. Was not the whole subject a pure 
case of dollars and cents?" 

The Justice thought " the question must be answer- 
ed." So Captain Bunce replied, that " it might cover it 
and it might not." 

" Precisely, then, you think it might cover it ?" 

" Yes, sir, and it might not." 

" What do you mean by that. Captain Bunce ?" 

" Why, that if I had fifteen hundred dollars' worth in 
the barn, it wouldn't cover it." 

" That seems highly probable. But did you ever have 
fifteen hundred dollars' worth of hay and grain in the 
barn at one time ?" 

" Well — I should f ly — that — it was rather — rather 
doubtful." 

" Doubtful, eh ?" 

" He means to say " said Lawyer Tools. 

" No matter what he means to say ; lue understand 
him," said the other lawyer. 

" Oh, well, Ketchum, give a man a fair chance," grum- 
bled Tools. 

" Then what do you mean. Captain Bunce, when yor 
say it might not cover the loss ?" 



156 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" Well, that possibly there might be more stuff in the 
barn than the policy would cover." 

" That is, more than nine hundred dollars," said Ket- 
chum. 

" Now, Captain Bunco, be so good as to tell us how 
much hay there was in the barn — how much rye, how 
much corn, how much oats and straw, and so forth." 

Captain Bunco couldn't recollect precisely, but ac- 
cording to his best belief and knowledge, there were 
twenty tons of hay, one hundred bushels of rye, two 
hundred and fifty bushels of corn, and one hundred and 
seventy-five bushels of oats. The Captain stuck at this 
all the way through, having that very morning cast up 
this amount, as making out the sum of nine hundred 
dollars, calling the barn worth three hundred. 

Had he sold any ? None of any account. Had he fed 
out any hay ? Very little. Why did he offer to take 
seven hundred ? To do the right thing with the com- 
pany. 

" Captain Bunce !" (A long pause.) 

" Yes, sir," said the Captain, looking ready to answer. 

" Well — did you on the night of the fire have any oc- 
casion to go to the barn with a cigar, lantern, match, or 
other lighted material, or means of fire ?" 

" Not to my best recollection." 

" You did not even go to the barn that day or even- 
ing, eh ?" 

" I presume I went to it in the course of the day." 

" Yes, but not in the evening ? Not after dark, you 
are sure ?" 

Lawyer Tools interposed to say that this was crowd- 
ing his client and friend, Captain Bunce, and he should 
object to the question. 

Justice Stout considered the matter, and rather thought 



LIFE IX tiil: xorthern poor-house. 157 

Captain Bunce must, on the whole, answer that ques- 
tion. Lawyer Tools thought that it might be best to 
call a man guilty and prove him so afterwards. 

Captain Bunce said he did go there after dark. 

" Yes ; you say you did go there after dark. Now, 
Captain Bunce, did you or did you not take any fire 
with you to that barn ?" 

" Not any at all, sir ; I went down to see if all was 
safe, and did not go into the barn. I often — generally 
do so." 

" Did any of your family go down in the evening ?" 

" Not to my knowledge." 

" Did any of the paupers — I believe you have the town 
poor on your hands, Captain Bunce — did any of the 
poor folks go down ?" 

" We shall show tliat,^^ said Lawyer Tools. 

" Never mind, sir, perhaps ive can," retorted Ketchum. 

" Gentlemen may as well pursue a straightforward 
course," interposed Justice Ben Stout. 

" Well, Captain Bunce, have you any idea how that 
fire occurred?" 

" Of course he has an ' idea,^ " said Tools. " What 
evidence is that ?" 

" Yes, I have an ' idea,' " said Captain Bunce. 

" Never mind the idea — never mind that now," said 
Ketchum. 

" Have you any well grounded proof that the barn 
was set on fire ?" 

Captain Bunce said he had, the best in the world. 
He believed, he almost knew it was set on fire by Jims, 
the town pauper, because he (the Captain) had flogged 
him. The boy's tracks were seen in the snow. He had 
been absent all day and all the evening until just about 
the time of the fire. He had been afraid of the boy for 
some time. 



158 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" Did you see the bov that dav after you floo-fred him ?" 

" No, sir. He ran away." 

" Do you know where he went to ?" 

" He went up town some where." 

" Where ?" 

" Went, I belieye, a-fishing." 

*' And was gone all day ?" 

" Yes." 

" Then you didn't see him that day at all?" 

" Not till the fire, of course." 

" Of course — of course ! You didn't see him go to the 
barn or come from it that day or evening, till the alarm 
of fire?" 

" That's all, that's all ; sit down. Captain, sit down ; 
sit down, sir." 

" Stop a moment. Captain," said Lawyer Tools. " How 
do you account for Jims' haying burned the barn ?" 

"Why, just out of spite. You see the boy often gets 
a flogging — he's a hard boy to get along with any how — ■ 
and we flogged him that morning for stealing chickens." 

" And he set the barn on fire from revenge ?" 

" Yes, sir ; undoubtedly." 

" Undoubtedly !" said Lawyer Tools. 

" You say he did set the barn on fire ?" said Lawyer 
Ketchum. 

" Well — er — that is — ' undouhtedly' he did — yes, sir." 

" With that qualification, Ketchum, that's all," said 
Tools. " Ain't you satisfied ?" 

" I am not exactly," replied the other. 

" You say you didn't see the boy all day till the fire 
in the evening, yet swear that he undoubtedly burned 
the barn. Now what proof have you of this? It must 
be very strong, Captain Bunce." 

Here Mr. Tools was highly incensed. He said it was 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 159 

a mere professional dodge and snare. It was going all 
round Robin Hood's barn to prove that Captain Bunco's 
barn wasn't burned by a boy that every body Icneto 
burned it ; and burned it at no connivance of Captain 
Bunco, but purely and of his own instincts from a desire 
of revenge. Mr. Tools never saw a question so plain as 
this made so complete a fog of. For his part, he hoped 
that the investigation would be kept in due bounds of 
law and evidence. His time was too precious to throw 
away, and his ideas of professional practice too sensitive 
to relish fun and stratagem, where character and pro- 
perty were at stake, as in the instance before them. 

The business of the " investigation" then again went 
on. Mr. Ketchum said he was a straightforward man, 
and only wanted to get at the truth. 

" Proceed, gentlemen," said Justice Stout. " What 
proof have you. Captain Bunco, that the boy burned 
the barn, and that he alone burned it ?" 

" The marks in the snow, the fact of his returning at 
the time, his ill will towards me, and so forth." 

" You saw those foot-prints yourself?" 

"I did." 

" You knew when he returned ?" 

" I saw him at the fire." 

Captain Bunce was permitted to sit down. 

Mr. Smith swore to his encounter with the boy in the 
morning. Dick Bunce and Elisha and Mrs. Bunce swore 
to his being flogged, and -leaving in a pet. Dick was 
sure the boy burned the barn — was ready to swear to 
it ; none too good to do it, nor any thing else. Dick 
talked loud, and a great deal. He said the boy was 
gone all day and all the evening. 

" Were you at home in the evening?" inquired Lavv- 
ver Ketchum. 



160 NEW England's chattels :m, 

" I — yes — no, I was not all the evening." 

" How, then, do you knoiv the boy was absent?" 

" By what others tell me — every body says so." 

" Yes, but this is not your own knowledge. Did you 
return home that evening ?" 

" Yes, sir, I returned home, of course." 

" Before the fire, or at the alarm of fire ?" 

" Oh, I don't just recollect now — yes, after the fire." 

" You did not return in season to go down to the barn 
to feed the stock, or any thing of that sort ?" 

" Oh, no, of course." 

" Call in colored Bill," said Lawyer Ketchum. 

" Bill, w^ere any of the poor folks gone from home that 
day of the fire, except Jims ?" 

" Yes, Dan was gone, Mag was gone, John Tucker and 
Pol was gone." 

" Did they come back that night ?" 

" Dan come back with Jims, and the rest come back 
some time, don't know when." 

" Did you see Captain Bunce that evening, Bill ?" 

Mr. Tools objected. 

Mr. Ketchum persisted. 

Mr. Stout wasn't certain — finally allowed. 

" "Wall, I saw him about eight o'clock, I guess." 

" You must not guess here," said Mr. Tools. 

" Wall, then, I hiow:' 

" How so ?" inquired Ketchuir. 

" He come into the poor-house, and asked where all 
the folks was ?" 

" What did you tell him ?" 

" I told him Roxy was gone off with Dick. Ha ! ha ! 
ha !" The negro's laugh was communicated to others. 

" Ha ! ha — " began the crowd. 

" Order !" shouted the justice, " there must he order /" 



LIFE IX THE NOETHERN" POOR-HOUSE. 161 

" What did he say to that?" 

" He said Dick was hazeing after that girl too much." 

Justice Stout promptly put down all manifestations of 
excitement in the crowd, and Mr. Ketchum inquired if 
Captain Bunce appeared anxious to see Dick. 

Lawyer Tools objected — objection sustained. 

" Well, Bill, can you tell me whether Dick came home 
that evening ?" 

" He did, sir, he came home before the fire." 

" You mean at the fire," quickly suggested Lawyer 
Tools. 

" No, sir-ee, I mean half an hour before the fire," said 
the negro stoutly. 

" Why, there must be some error here," said Tools. 

" Keep quiet, Mr. Tools," said Ketchum, " we shall get 
at the thing by degrees : don't fly into a heat now, don't." 

Mr. Tools looked flushed, but sat down. 

" He came home half an hour before the fire. How do 
you know ?" 

" Because he said it was half-past eight, and Jims and 
Dan and Mag and Pol and Tucker were out, when they'd 
ought to be home, bed, and sleep — wondered if any of 
'em had gone down to the barn to sleep." 

Mr. Tools, with some excitement, requested the jus- 
tice to observe that this testimony was flatly in contra- 
diction with that of Mr. Richard Bunce, wdio testified 
that he did not return till after the fire, etc., etc. 

Justice Stout took a note of it. 

Mr. Ketchum said it was his liberty to show, by a dis- 
interested witness, wherein the witnesses on the part of 
Captain Bunce had testified erroneously. Mr. Tools 
shook his head, Mr. Stout considered the matter by look- 
ing first at one party and then at the other over his 
spectacles. , 



I(i2 NEW ENGLAND'S CHATTELS ; OR, 

" Go on, Bill," said Justice Stout. 

" Haven't anything more to say, sir — except this, Dick 
told me he believed Jims or some of them would get 
into State's prison yet. What for ?*I said. For burn- 
ing barns or something else." 

" A c d lie !" roared a voice from the crowd. It 

was Richard Bunce. 

" Undoubtedly !" said lawyer Tools. 

" What is the point, gentlemen ?" inquired the jus- 
tice. 

" It is this, may it please the Court," said Mr. Ket- 
chum, " that this witness swears to a conversation with 
Richard about the ' burning of barns,' evidently think- 
ing of his father's barns, half an hour before the event, 
or before any body else had apparently thought of such 
an event 1" 

" The witness ought not to be interrupted," said the 
justice, " though he should remember to speak only the 
truth and what he knows." 

Bill said he didn't pretend to know anything. He 
only said just what he saw " with his natural eyes and 
lieard with his natural ears." So he was dismissed. 

Now it came for Jims to be examined. The boy look- 
ed very much abashed and shy when brought forward 
■ — you would say at once guilty — and how could he be 
otherwise than guilty ? Did not all the evidence lean 
against him ? Was he not friendless too, and suspected 
of every crime committed in the neighborhood ? 

But Jims' appearance was rather the natural awk- 
wardness of one brought up in an inferior condition, 
who had all his life been abused and kept in the dust ; 
it was more this than the effect of guilt. He was op- 
pressed by the scrowling look of the people, and by the 
consciousness of their verdict already made up against 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 163 

him, as well as by the circumstances all harmonizing to 
convict him, but not by any sense of his criminality in 
the case — so he showed as good a face as he, poor boy, 
felt able to, and several times made such replies to the 
lawyer's interrogatories as to rather interest the spec- 
tators in his favor. 

He admitted the flogging and the cause of it. His 
evil temper ; his brush with Mr. Shire, but told them 
Mr. Shire inflamed him by calling Mr. Boyce names, 
and then by shaking him and threatening to flog him 
again. The people all looked at Shire rather search- 
ingly and inquiringly. 

" Well, it was something so, by thunder, boy," said 
Shire, in the crowd. 

" It was, eh.?" said Law^^er Tools, jocosely. 

Jims told his story till he got to the corner of the 
barn-yard wall. Here the lawyers and the justice, and 
all the people were very intent to get hold of every 
word he spoke, and of every idea and shade of thought 
the poor boy had. 

" You say," said Tools, " you went acrost the lot in 
the snow because it was nearer ?" 

"Yes, sir." 

" How much nearer was it?" 

" I don't know, some considerable." 

" You went to the corner of the wall ?"' 

" Yes, I went there." 

" Did you go round the corner into the path ?" 

" No, I didn't." 

" Did you get over the wall, my boy ; you needn't be 
afraid to say so if you did. Did you get over the wall 
into the yard ?" blandly inquired Tools. 

" No, i didn't." 

" You didn't even climb the wall to see the cattle ?" 



164 NET England's chattels ; or, 

" No, not a bit.' 

" Well, my boy, you say you stopped at the corner 
of the wall a little time — say how long." 

" A minute." 

" "Was it not fifteen minutes ?" 

" ' Fifteen minutes !' Oh, dear, no ! I was home 
talking with old Dan in less than that." 

" Perhaps you went acrost the fields to meet Dan ?" 

" No, I didn't ; met him by accident. It was darl,.' 

" Well, now, 3^ou neither went round the corner of Jie 
wall, nor got up on to it, nor over it, nor round /he 
barn — how then did you get into the yard " 

" I didn't get there, I tell you, at all !" said the lad, 
with the quickness of lightning. 

" You see," said Ketchum, " this game won't do, 1 jols ; 
he's a straight out-and-outer. You can't fog him, no- 
cross him, nor trip him." 

" Well," said Tools, " he must tell the truth." 

" By all means !" said the justice. 

"Any thing further to ask?" inquired Ketchum. 

" Yes — stay a moment. Haddock ! call Mr. Haddock." 

Mr. Haddock came forward. 

" I think you said, Mr. Haddock, that this boy left 
your house a little past nine ?" 

" Yes, sir." 

" Did he appear in a hurry to go ?" 

" Nothing unusually so." 

" Did he seem morose, look dog-eared, and bent on 
mischief?" 

" He seemed perfectly mild and harmless." 

Mr. Ketchum inquired if he thought " it very likely 
he Avould go away and set a barn on fire in five minutes 
from that time." 

Mr. Haddock regarded it morally impossible. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHKKN POOR-HOUSE. 165 

Lawyer Tools didn't " care a pin" what Haddock 
thought, or Ketchum, or any body else. He only wanted 
facts, and he'd " have them if they were not covered up 
and befogged by ' moral impossibilities,' till it was legally 
impossible to tell black from white !" Tools had a way 
of getting off things that pleased the crowd, who always 
pricked up their ears, opened their eyes, and gaped 
with their mouths till he finished off, and then took a 
long breath as a relief. 

" Well, boy," said Tools, " you say you didiiH go round 
the corner of that ic-cdl into the 2^cdh, Now I want to 
know one thing. Why did you stop there 'a minute,' 
as you say, and then run off in another direction in the 
snow, when there was a good path right home from the 
bars ! Now answer that !" 

" I had rather not answer it." 

" But you must," said Lawyer Tools. 

" By all means," said the justice. 

" May be you'd let me bear the blame if I didn't ?" 
said the boy, with tears. 

" It don't look very much like guilt," said one and an- 
other, whispering through the crowded hall. 

" May it please the court," said Lawyer Ketchum, " if 
the boy ran through the snow, in preference to taking a 
beaten path where his tracks would not be seen, it ap- 
pears to me he had some good reason for so doing other 
than the consciousness of guilt." 

" Oh, ho !" said Tools ; " impressions and opinions are 
of no consequence. The boy had a reason for not tak- 
ing the path. Now I want him to disclose it." 

" I had rather not," said the boy, with his head down. 

Mr, Haddock whispered Mr. Ketchum, and Mr. Ketch- 
um wliispered Tools, and they both conferred with the 
justice to the following purport : That the justice should 



166 NEW England's chati els ; or, 

kindly assure the boy of his favor, and lead him to dis- 
close what he knew. So Justice Stout put on his best 
appearance, and caUing the boy a little nearer him, told 
him that he need be under no apprehension that any 
body would hurt him if he told what he knew, and assured 
him tiiat every body in the room was his friend ! 

Jims said he wasn't afraid " of being hurt." 

" What are you afraid of?" inquired the justice. 

" Who said I was afraid of any thing ?" he asked. 

" True, but we all thought so," said Mr. Ben Stout. 

" I don't w^ant to hurt Mm — I ain't afraid of being 
hurt." 

" Who do you mean by ' /</»?,' my boy ?" 

" I mean Dich Biuice.^'' 

" Whew !" exclaimed Tools, and it was noticed that 
Dick Bunco looked blank and trembled. 

" Well, what of him — how can he be hurt ?" 

" I saiv him /" said the boy. 

" It's a lie, d you !" shouted a voice in the crowd, 

and Dick Bunce, pale and trembling, stood forth before 
the assembly. Captain Bunce cast an uneasy glance 
around him. The people scarcely breathed. 

" Well, my boy, tell us now all you know." 

" Speak the truth !" said a low, solemn voice near 
him, and Jims immediately stood up straight and firm, 
and said in a clear voice : " I was going round the corner 
into the path, when I saw a man come out through the 
bars stealthily, and take the path before me directl}^ to- 
wards the house. I turned into the snow, because I 
didn't want to have him see me." 

" Did you know him ?" 

" Yes, I knew him at once." 

" Who was that man ?" 

" The truth now, boy," said Tools. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 167 

" Dick Bunce !" 

" ' Spotted' him, by George !" said Nelson Smith to 
Ralph Newton, as he noticed how Dick colored, trem- 
bled, perspired, and finally sat dowr.. 

" Call Doctor Murdock," said Lawyer Ketchum. 

" What do you want of Doctor Murdock, Ketchum — 
you ain't sick, I hope ?" 

" We want to know Avhether the doctor has any prac- 
tice in his profession dark evenings, away from home," 
said the other limb of the law. 

" Doctor Murdock, were you out on professional busi- 
ness the evening of this fire ?" 

" I believe I was, sir." 

" Did you have occasion to ride by Captain Bunco's 
that evening ?" 

" Yes, sir, on my return home." 

■' What time in the evening was that, doctor ?" 

" Not many minutes after nine o'clock." 

" And can you state any thing in relation to this 
fire ?" 

" That is," interposed Lawyer Tools, " did you or did 
you not notice that the barn was on fire ?" 

" No, I did not observe any fire." 

" Good — you should say the barn was not on fire !" 

" I saw no fire — no light." 

" Every thing remained quiet ?" continued Tools. 

" Yes, so far as I noticed about the barn. But there 
were people in the road — " 

" No matter about ' people in the road,' there are 
always people ^oing and coming in our streets and high- 
ways — no fire, you say ?" 

" None that I observed." 

" All right, doctor ; any thing further, Ketchum ?" 

Mr. Ketchum said " Yes — did you see the boy Jims 



168 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

on the road, or about the premises, as you rode b}- that 
evening ?" 

" Not to my recollection." 

" Did you see the girl Roxy, or Mag Davis, or any of 
the poor-house folks, wandering about ?" 

" I remember passing ' old Dan,' as they call him, 
about fifty or a hundred rods below, with a bag or 
something of the kind on his shoulder." 

" Dan, eh ?" said Tools. 

" Dan 1" said Justice Stout. " Did Dan burn the 
baTn ? Oh, excuse me ! — er — all right — go on, gentle- 
men." The justice seemed to be a little lost for some 
reason. 

" You are sure it was Dan ?" inquired Lawyer Ketchum. 

" Yes, for I spoke to him, and oflered him a seat." 

" Oh, well, of course the doctor knew him — why puz- 
zle the doctor on a self-evident point?" said Tools. 
" And that was all, I suppose ?" he continued — " nothing 
seemed out of place — nothing new — nothing terrible 
going on, was there, doctor ?" 

" That was all, except this, if I remember right : Just 
as I got against Captain Bunco's — my mare walking 
along — a man suddenly ran acrost the road, from the 
barnside to the other, just ahead of me, and frightened 
the mare so that she darted out one side and nearly 
upset me. I, however, reined her in ; and just then I 
heard the man, in a rather hoarse and rough voice that 
I recognized, exclaim, ' The d — L !' " 

" Who, in your opinion, uttered those words ?" inquired 
Ketchum. 

■' I took it to be Dick ; I know Dick pretty well, and 
thought it was he." 

"You ^thougM it was Dick Bunco?" said Tools. 

" I KNEW it was Dick Bunce," said the sound and un- 
flincliina; doctor. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. IG'J 

It is always curious to mark the changes of opinion 
that take place in a court-room when one is on trial, or 
a question is pending before a jury. Opinions there 
are often entirely reversed — and that not only once, but 
two or three, or even half a dozen times — swaying now 
this way and anon that way, so that at last it often hap- 
pens that persons who went to a trial perfectly con- 
vinced that Mr. A. was guilty, have gone away with the 
full belief that the guilty party w^as Mr. B. So they 
have been known to say, " We don't know which is 
guilty, or whether either of them is so, if there has 
been even any guilt or criminality at all." 

In this case, every body at first seemed perfectly sat- 
isfied that Jims Tucker was an infernal little scoundrel, 
who had, out of revenge, burnt up a thousand dollars' 
worth of property belonging to Captain Bunco. But 
after Doctor Murdock got through, his testimony corro- 
borating the straightforward, simple story of Jims, every 
body in the court-room — especially as Dick was so much 
agitated that he leaped up and rushed, pale and trem- 
bling, out of the hall — believed Dick Bunco alone the 
guilty party, and Jims as innocent as Squire Ben him- 
self. 

In all human probability, Dick saved himself from the 
State prison by running away and escaping to sea, where 
he soon after died. Mrs. Bunce was terribly mortified 
by the result of this investigation, as Dick was her very 
favorite son, and she soon after was attacked with a fever 
that carried her ofi". Poor woman ! she did not live to 
" cook the beef." 

As no evidence appeared to show that Captain Bunce 
knew any thing of Dick's act or intention in burning 
the barn, he got his seven hundred dollars of the 
insurance company, and took to drinking harder than 
ever. 8 



170 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

In the meantime, Durkee, the butcher, and Betsey 
Bunce made a hurried match and went out West. 
Captain Bunce was left in rather poor circumstances to 
carry on his poor-house estabhshment, especially as 
Henrietta and Elisha were infirm, and of very little 
help to him. But with two good stout servant girls, 
and a hired man, he contrived to keep along." 

Contrary to the general expectation, the Captain 
manifested towards Jims a much more kind demeanor 
than ever before, so that the boy was far less uncom- 
fortable in his quarters than he would otherwise have 
been. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 171 



CHAPTER XV 

Alanson. 

The cold of winter continued. It was painful to wit- 
ness its effect on the decrepid and poorly clad inmates 
of the poor-house. Without money to relieve their ne- 
cessities, without friends to whom they could fly for aid, 
without strength to engage in any remunerative em- 
ployment, without food nourishing in quality and kind- 
ly dealt to them, without warm and cleanly clothing, 
without comfortable rooms and beds ; without congenial 
or desirable society, and daily companionships — with- 
out the kind sympathy of the world, and yet quite near 
the end of it, they drooped rapidly, sensibly, certainly, 
and especially during the reign of cold. The paupers 
always lost from three to five of their number every 
winter, their broken and undermined constitutions being 
unable to resist its severity. 

So it happened with Alanson Boyce, the author, that 
in two weeks' time, notwithstanding the care of Mr. and 
Mrs. Haddock, he began to fail. 

Captain Bunco came once to see him, and proposed 
that he should return if able in two or three days, as he 
didn't like to have a bad example set before the other 
paupers. It made them uneasy if one fared any differ- 
ent from the rest. 

" I think," said the Captain, *' you are now in a very 
fair way ; you'll be all right, 0. K. in a few days, and 
able to help us. I guess by day after to-morrow — eh — 



172 NEW England's chattels; or, 

don't you think by day after morrow you can get home 
again, eh, Boyce ?" 

" Don't, pray don't fix the time now, if you please, 
Captain Bunce — I will consult with Mr. Haddock." 

" Oh, that's of no use ; you see your doing as well 
now as can be expected, and the folks at the house want 
dreadfully to see you." 

" Yes, but I am very weak yet." 

" You need to get out into the open air : now a little 
good exercise will give you strength and an appetite. 
I think you had better fix the time as I mentioned." 

" If I must I will ; but w^on't you see Mr. Haddock 
first ?" 

" Well, if it comes right — but never mind that ; you 
know I can't afford to board you here ; and Haddock 
will be sure, I think, to charge us a sweet bill for your 
trouble in the end." 

Boyce groaned and turned away his head. He knew 
better ; he knew Mr. Haddock had no such intentions, 
but as he was conscious of receiving from him his pre- 
sent kindness as a gratuity, it would be indelicate to 
argue this, and he said nothing. But he thought he 
could not return to the poor-house. How he loathed it! 
His sensitiveness was deeply wounded at the idea. He 
shrunk from any and all dependence, especially from 
that public relief which the town in its boasted philan- 
thropy provided, but which made poverty more fearfully 
appalling and humiliating, so proving true that — 
" Nothing in poverty so ill is borne, 
As its exposing men to grinning scorn." — Oldham. 

Boyce felt in his soul a desire that he might rather 
die than go back to the poor-house. The Captain see- 
ing him rather the worse for his visit, told him to "' chirk 
up and be a man." " I will come over," said he, " with 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-KOUSE. 173 

the red cutter and bear's skin and bells. Won't we 
have a fine, nice ride of it, hey? So chirk np, man — 
good-bye. And the Captain bowed ojEf. 

Mr. Haddock happened to be absent when the Cap- 
tain made this call, and was pained on his return to 
witness the discouraged and anguished look of his poor 
patient. But he assured him he should be taken care 
of and kept from the poor-house, as long as he had a 
home to shelter him. The terrible shadow of the poor- 
house had, however, again passed over the soul of the 
enfeebled sufferer, and it quickened his decline to the 
grave. 

And now something seemed to weigh heavily on his 
mind and to cause him frequently to sigh and groan to 
the infinite distress of his good and kind friends. What 
it was, they could not understand. It led them to be 
more attentive to every one of his wants, and by many 
acts of kindness to merit his confidence. 

At length Boyce informed them, that he left in Eng- 
land, five years before, a beautiful and aflectionate wife 
and a child one year old, who had never been permitted 
to join him since, although till within the last two years 
he had received regular communications and letters 
from her. He now felt it almost certain that he was 
destined never again to see on the earth that beloved 
one, nor his sweet little Alice ; and the thought was 
harrowing to his soul. A merciful God had given him 
friends, and restored to him his intellect from its late 
wretched and weakened state, but, alas ! with what 
quickened sensibilities he now contemplated the whole 
truth of that condition which forbade him the hope of 
ever again clasping in his arms the tender one from 
whom this long, long separation was but the prelude to 
one as boundless as time. Should he never see again 



174 NEW England's chattels ; ob, 

liis adored, his chaste, his lovely Laura ? "Were the waves 
of the sea to divide them on earth, and the wheels of 
time to roll their separating cycles on their pathway — 
forever, till in the future world — dissolving the golden 
chain that had bound together their youthful hearts ? 
Was true love born in time, but only thus to perish, and 
the friends wdio are to each most dear and affectionate, 
to suffer the rudest separations ; and while their hearts 
are beating, their hands opened, their eyes o'erflowing, 
shall they be made to feel that the joy of meeting is to 
them forbidden ?" 

It was thus that Boyce, his understanding now fully 
restored to him, continued to dwell on the history of his 
life we have now sketched. It was touching to hear 
him, painful to see him sinking, a mild, sweet, gentle 
sufferer — one of the bright young geniuses of earth, his 
lamp burning pure and faithful at the last lightings of 
it, but in its flashings giving presage of its near extinc- 
tion. 

Both Mr. and Mrs. Haddock deemed it advisable that 
he should see and converse with their pastor. They 
proposed the interview, and Boyce gladly consented. 
It took place the next day, and contributed much to the 
relief of the sufferer's mind, especially on the subject of 
meeting one's friends in the future world, and mutually 
recognizing each other, a point on which Boyce was 
much excited. It was Mr. Rodman's firm conviction 
they would do so, and he advanced many suggestions in 
favor of his opinion, that tended to the conviction and 
comfort of the invalid. " We shall know the Saviour in 
his glory," said he, " and we shall, each one of us, bo 
known and loved by him and by the Father. How rea- 
sonable to suppose, then, we shall also know each other, 
and communicate to one another our joy." He was able 



LIFE IN THE NORTHEEN POOR-HOUSE. 175 

also to help him more clearly comprehend the fulness of 
that redemption by the Son of God which is the Spirit 
of Prophecy, and the hope of all true Christian believers. 
Boyce became more and more calm and hopeful, and 
child-like in his confidence, as he approached nearer the 
outline of his life's boundary, and saw the shadows fall 
beyond it. 

On an evening somewhat dark and stormy, after a 
rather mild winter's day, Jims, in his slouching hat, and 
coarse and tattered garments, went sauntering off to- 
wards the town. He carefully avoided stopping any 
where, and kept along in the middle of the road, where, 
without any intention on his part, he was soon to meet 
a person who like himself was carefully avoiding all in- 
tersecting roads and places of rest, although needing 
shelter and fondly hoping to find it. A poor, feeble, 
delicate woman is taken up at mid-day by a traveler in 
a large sleigh, on the public road, and carried by him 
fifteen miles, to the borders of Crampton, where she 
alights with a young child and a small bundle, thanking 
earnestly and with lady-like words the kind old gentle- 
man for his humanity. "^ 

" And what will you do now, my young friend ?" he 
inquired, as the lady stepped upon the snow path with 
her child. 

" I will walk, as before," she answered, " and hope to 
reach the town before dark." 

" You must walk fast — too fast, I fear, for your strength 
to do it," said he, " and I wish I could take you further." 

" Never mind it, sir ; you have done me great kind- 
ness in bringing me and my little one so far ; may God 
reward you, as he will, I doubt not," so saying, she took 
the child's hand and walked on. 

The old gentleman's heart smote him as she walked 



176 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

painfully away, and the little child seemod ready to fall 
at every step. Still the mother held on, and by-and-bye, 
as she followed a curve of the road, she was hidden from 
the traveler, and he slowly walked his horse alon^^ his 
own way. Three weary miles the woman walked that 
evening — her little child often crying with fatigue and 
cold and hunger, and no one happening to pass along 
who could take them up. At length a man with an ox- 
team and sled overtook them, and carried them through 
the village of Crampton a quarter of a mile, to his own 
gateVay. The lady wished to go further if possible, 
about half a mile further, on the way to Captain Bunce's. 

The man was struck with the delicate, kindly, and at- 
tractive appearance of the lady, and tried to interest her 
in conversation. But she said few words, except mono- 
sjdlables, inquiring occasionally how she might find the 
poor-house, and if the people there were we]l taken 
care of, and were in good health. The man studied her 
face and bearing earnestly, to assure himself of her char- 
acter and object, and from all that he could discern con- 
cluded that she could be none other than the celebrated 
Miss Dix, bent on one of those benevolent excursions to 
their own poor-house, he had often read of her making 
elsewhere. He remained of this impression up to the 
time of her leaving him. It was nearly — nay, it was 
dark, when the man stopped his team at his own door, 
and civilly and urgently invited her to go in and stay 
with them all night — at least allow his wife to give her 
a cup of tea. 

" How far is it on this road," said she, earnestly, " to 
the poor-house ?" 

" Well, ma'am," he replied, " it is half a mile." 

" And is it so near !" she exclaimed. " No, sir, I will 
not stop a moment. We will soon reach it. Thank 
you, mv 2:ood friend — farewell I" 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 177 

So saying, she claS|>^d the little child by the arm and 
fairly hurried her along. 

Toiling on, for it was dark now — the road was slip- 
pery, the storm beginning, the winds moaning, the 
clouds growing thicker, — the woman and child nearly 
sinking to the snow, almost despairing — yet so near the 
goal of their labors, they encountered a solitary being 
walking dreamily along the same road, a boy with his 
hat pulled over his face, and his shoes and garments in- 
dicating poverty and misery. 

The two parties naturally observed each other as they 
met, and the lady inquired of Jims how much further it 
was to the poor-house. 

" The poor-house !" said the boy, wildly. 

" Yes, if you please, my lad," said she, quietly. 

•' The Lord bless us ! You arn't going there ?" 

" But why not go there ?" 

" Oh, it's the most wretchedest place on earth !" said 
the boy. 

"But people live in it," said the vv^oman. 

" Yes, we live in it — we, a sort of people ; but no 
ladies or smart folks live there. It's a forsaken spot." 

" Then you live there !" exclaimed she, with thrilling 
anxiety and earnestness. 

" I do," said Jims. " It's my own, my only home." 

" Guide me there, boy — now, noio^ this minute — and I 
will reward you — if I can." 

" Oh ! if you want to get there, come then. I know 
every foot of the way there, in the dark as well as in 
the day." 

So Jims led her along, the woman trembling and hold- 
ing the little one by her side, occasionally carrying her 
a few rods ; and by-and-bye they reached the gate of 

that dwellin •, towards which the heart of this poor 

8«- 



178 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

traveler had been pointing for the last ten days with 
consuming* fervor. 

" Here we are, ma'am," said Jims, throwing open the 
door. " Walk in. Every body is at home here." 

A large dingy room, dimly lighted, with a small, feeble 
fire on the hearth, and ten or twelve persons around it, 
(feeble, singular-looking, old, and broken down,) now re- 
ceived the stranger and her child. Involuntarily, both 
drew back by the door, and experienced a shuddering, 
revolting sensation at the sight before them. 

" Here's a new comer, I guess, Mrs. Prescott," cried 
Jims. " She's tired, though, and so is the little girl 
with her." 

" Come here, poor soul," said the widow, rising and 
hobbling towards her. 

And aunt Doroth}', who was smoking her pipe, ex- 
claimed : 

" Drum, drum, drum, dro, do dro, dri do — 

On Jordan's stormy banks I stand ; 
Drum, de drum, dri, dro, 

And cast a wishful look behind." 

" Never mind /^er," said Mag to the stranger, as she 
wildly stared at her in real alarm. 

" Come, sit down, good lady," said the widow, " and 
warm your feet." 

" Perhaps you can tell me," said the lady, trembling 
all over as she spoke, " whether there's one Mr. Alwison 
Boyce in these quarters ?" 

" Boyce ! Heh gone^^ said Jims, " to " 

But before he could finish the speech, the lady dropped 
from her chair to the floor, fainting with agitation, f;v 
tigue, and disappointment. 

They raised her and placed her on the bed, and 
bathed her temple s in cold water, while Bill hurried 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 179 

over to the Captain's and procured his assistance. Hen- 
rietta came over with camphor ; and the lady was just 
beginning to revive, when in came Jims, bounding from 
the door, follo^ved by Mr. and Mrs. Haddock. The boy's 
instincts had told him what to do in this emergency, 
and he had darted away over the fields, with the sAvift- 
ness of a deer, to communicate the intelligence to them. 
Almost as rapidly, the whole party had returned. 

" Where has he gone ? Tell me, and I will go to him. 
Tell me," said the stranger, recovering. " Am I not his 
wife ? Is not this child his own Jittle Alice ? Tell me 
where I shall find him, my husband !" 

" Dear creature !" said Mrs. Haddock, pressing her to 
her lips, and soothing her with the gentlest tones of her 
voice. " Believe me, he is not far ofi". He is under our 
own roof, but a short, very short distance off, and will 
be most happy and overjoyed to see you." 

The lady leaned her head on the breast of Mrs. Had- 
dock, and burst into a flood of tears. She filled the room 
with her sobs and exclamations of gratitude ; and Alice 
also cried, as a child will often cry, with fear, and won- 
der, and fatigue, intermingled. 

As for Captain Bunce, he expressed the utmost joy 
that Mr. and Mrs. Haddock had come over, for he 
shouldn't have known " what in the world to do with the 
poor critur any how." 

By degrees, as he could bear it, Boyce was made ac- 
quainted with her arrival. The flame of the poor suf- 
ferer's life almost flashed out in its brilliant burnings, as 
he at length came to understand the good news. He 
wildly called her name, and soon after pressed her to his 
heart. It was an hour of deepest emotion to both — the 
hour of their first meeting. How she called him hei 
lost " Alanson !" and roUed her long, delicate fiugerji 



1 80 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

through the dark locks of his hair. How she wept on 
his cheek and kissed away his and her own tears, and 
pressed his hands which fondly clung to licr's. Their 
eyes failed them as they looked on one another, and 
their voices were voices of joy and sorrow intermingled 
as they spoke to one another. It was now of old Eng- 
land ! and anon of America 1 It was of prosperity and 
adversity. It was of hope and fear, of the past and 
present. And Bo^^ce, with a father's pride and joy, 
pressed to his heart his dear little Alice, now six years 
of age, sweet image of her mother, a young, sunny-haired 
child of the old world, but early transplanted, through 
a storm-cloud on the sea and death-vraves to many hap- 
less ones, to the new. 

It was a long story that occupied them day after day 
to tell each other of the past. We must in the recital 
cut it short. Suffice it that she had followed both her 
parents to the grave, and had failed during the last two 
or three years of receiving any letters or intelligence 
from her husband. At length, with Alice, she left Eng- 
land for America, determined to find her husband, or 
learn what had become of him. The ship was wrecked 
on the Jersey shore in a gale, and she was the only lady 
passenger rescued. She and Alice were saved, but 
nearly every thing of value was lost. They were hu- 
manely treated, however, being taken to New York, and 
efforts made at her request to ascertain some tidings of 
her husband. For a long time their efforts were un- 
availing, but finally she heard through a publishing 
house in the city, that he had been unfortunate in his 
recent manuscripts, finding no publisher ready to under- 
take them, (but that chiefly owing to his oAvn weak state 
of health, affecting his intellectual accuracy,) and that 
he had been driven by " hard times" out of the city, 



LIFE IN TEE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 181 

they knew not where ! This was a killing bloAv to her. 
For many days she was so much discouraged by it, that 
her health sensibly declined, and she anticipated a long, 
distressing sickness. One day, however, the darkness 
was all dissipated in a moment. The publisher already 
referred to sent her a letter, received from the Rev. Mi'. 
Rodman, of Crampton, enclosing one from her husband, 
written at Mr. Haddock's, and requesting him to forward 
it in the most direct manner to England, at the same 
time urging him to make inquiry for letters to him at 
the post office in New York. In this letter, Boyce in a 
few words told his wife of his forlorn condition as an in- 
mate of the poor-house. But he also mentioned the 
kind friends he had found in the Haddocks, and hoped 
he should never again be forced to feel all the biting 
of want he had experienced. He said that his address 
at the present time was " care of Captain Bunco, 
Crampton." 

In a short time, Mrs. Boyce with Alice, was on the 
way there, with little money to defray her expenses ; a 
stranger in the country, and depressed by the know- 
ledge of her husband's state of health, the journey was 
a long one, and a weary one. 

But we have seen its end. How blessed once more to 
meet — to see each other's faces in the flesh, and to re- 
new the love of other days ; to talk of all the past and 
cheer each other with bright hopes of future joy. * * * 
And yet hopes brighter than their reality. Boyce linger- 
ed on till the spring and died. So lingered on a little 
further the loving wife, and she too slept beside him ; 
their graves marked by the purest marble, for their 
lives had been innocent and good. And Alice was 
left alone — an orphan in a land of strangers, but 
by no means an unfriended, homeless orphan, still a 
fatherless, motherless child. 



182 NEW England's chattels ; or. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Jims at the Manse. 

The pastor of the old and well-known town of Cramp- 
ton sat dozing in his chair in the south front room ot 
the parsonage. The hour was about eight in the even- 
ing ; and as usual, from eight to nine, when he was 
wont to wake up and go to bed, sleepy — provided there 
were no appointments or calls abroad — he resigned him- 
self to a leaning, easy snooze, with his feet on an elevated 
stool, his hands folded on his lap, his head and shoulders 
cast back upon the cushioned rocker, while his industri- 
ous, quiet wife knitted and sewed and trimmed the light. 
There was a large fire in the open Franklin stove, and 
occasionally a " snapping" stick would throw off a spark, 
mon a coal that broke the thread of the industrious 
Bewer, and partially the dream of the sleeper, and which 
was instantly quenched by the shoe of the former, or 
pointed at with the finger of the latter, as one half- 
opened eye followed in its wake, and noted the place of 
its rest. 

Thus the evening was weaving itself up. It was now 
eight — anon, eight and a quarter — presently it was eight 
and a half — thirty-five, and six, and seven. The wind 
was howling ; the snow began to slant on the windows, 
and to hum its flurry-tune. And yet it was comfortable 
in the pastor's domestic south room, and there was quiet 
also, for it happened that there were no children in this 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 183 

family ; and Ann was busy in the kitchen over the 
ironing ; Growler lay quietly in his corner, and Tabby 
in hers. But outside the parsonage, and all along the 
road, through the woods, beside the creek, over the hill 
and down in the hollows, it was dark, stormy and drear. 

I said it was "eight and thirty-five, six, and seven." 
It was just about that, and would soon be thirty-eight, 
nine, and then forty, when the pastor's wife was startled, 
and the pastor was startled, by the opening and slam- 
ming of the yard gate. Now this gate had rusty hinges 
and an iron latch and key ; and when opened and shut, 
it always made a great noise, that invariably awoke the 
dozing divine, and arrested the attention of his indus- 
trious and economizing lady. On the present occasion, 
they both aroused at the same instant, and they both 
exclaimed as usual, only with rather more than their 
ordinary interest, for it implied something serious ; it 
might be sickness, or a death, or a dying message, or a 
traveler benighted, or a contemplating bridegroom, or a 
seasonable present from a thoughtful parishioner, or a 
troubled conscience that would not rest. Something of 
an earnest and positive character hung on the hinges of 
the gate as eight, thirty and seven, and eight, walked 
up the dial-ladder that stormy December night. 

So at least thought he — and with hand upraised, ana 
breath held up to hear more, she, and both said, " There 

it is ! THE GATE !" 

But before any more words were uttered, or time for 
any took place, there was a loud knock at the back-door 
opening into the hall. The servant-girl arrested her 
smoothing-iron, held it up a moment, listening ; then 
down it went on the red hot stove, and she seized a 
light. The pastor seized a light, his wife seized another ; 
and as they all met and stood in the hall the door sud- 



184 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

denly opened. It was not locked ; nor was the outsider 
aware that any thing, even fashion or law, required him 
to wait in a storm after giving the usual sign of being 
there : so in he came. He was covered with snow ; his 
long hair fell over his shoulders, and filled up his face 
in part, through which, however, glowed two ruddy 
cheeks and flashing eyes. His features were coarse. 
His garments, as he shook oif the snow, appeared to 
have nearly got through with service. His shoes were 
nearly twice too large for him, filled with snow, and his 
hat was a broken-in slouching felt. 

The comer w^as a tall, overgrown boy, twelve or thir- 
teen years of age perhaps, and as tall and thin as one 
may be at fifteen. Grown out of erect shape, his shoul- 
ders, back, chest, and limbs betrayed, in the general 
outline, a neglected fellow-creature — with how much ol 
intellect by his Creator gifted, unknown. He was a 
shabby, sorry fellow, and yet awoke in you instinctive 
interest — perhaps compassion — perhaps suggestion. 
" Are you sufiering ?" " Whence came, who, and what 



are you 



?" 



The intruder, opening the door on such a flood of 
light, stopped and gazed a moment in apparent surprise. 
He drew himself up, and looked at the company present 
to receive him with such an unusual display of lights, 
with a wild inquiring gaze, which every one of the trio 
returned in his and her usual and appropriate form ol 
such expression. But the out-door hero came to himsell 
first. He took off his hat, shook off the snow, and threw 
back his wetted locks and snow-covered coat. 

" May be," said he, " you don't know it's mighty hard 
snowing, d'ye ?" 

" Well, my lad," said the parson, " we havn't been 
out, but we have heard it on the windows." 



LIFE IN THE NOKTHEEN POOE-HOFSE. 185 

" Glory ! 's that all ? IVe been tracking in't two 
miles, and it's dumb'd plaguy soft and cold. But what's 
that to me ? I'm out in all sorts of weather — wet, cold, 
and dry — and sleep where I can. It's a tough sort of life 
I leads any way ; and so you'd think yourselves, pro- 
viden you'd try it." 

Sy this time the party had all got into the kitchen, 
where the cheerful fire in the stove seemed greatly to 
please the new comer, and led him to edge his way to- 
wards it. 

" I suppose," said the pastor, " you wouldn't have come 
out to-night, if you had not been sent out on business ?" 

" No, sir, I just shouldn't. You see, the Lord sends 
the storms ; the Lord sends fair weather, too ; and it's 
the Lord who sends death." 

" Is any one dead in the town ?" 

" Not as I knows of, exactly ; the town is the rich peo- 
ple, I s'pose, and all the well off sort o' folks, ain't they ?" 

" Why, no ; the town means the whole people, old and 
young, high and low, rich and poor." 

" Well, I declar', if that isn't a great piece of news to 
me. Down in our place, the Pooe don't seem to be reck- 
oned much on, and I'd kinder tho't they only belonged 
to the town, and warn't the town itself, or any part of 
it." 

" The poor of the town are just as much a part of the 
town as the rich, my lad, only — " 

" ' Only' they ain't as much tho't on, or needed, ay?" 

" Ah ! well — they are an unfortunate and suffering 
class of persons. But the town makes some, if not am- 
ple provision for their comfort." 

" Yes, I s'pose so ; but I reckun it's a sort of relief 
when any of the old (riturs like aunt Dorothy goes off 
the handle— what ?" 



186 NEW England's chattels ; ok, 

" Why, you see, it costs Captain Bunce a deal of money 
to feed um, and it's a gain when they dies. They do no 
sort of good, take it in the winter, and they need a plaguy 
site of soup and cider, and tea fixings, besides some more 
bed clothes, and other clothes, and fires. Consequence 
is, that the cost is mighty hard. Captain says, on the 
town, and on himself." 

" Why, the town don't have any thing to do with those 
matters. He, th3 Captain, bears all those charges for 
so much a year, and it is his duty to keep them well, 
and see that they are comfortable every way." 

" Is it, indeed ! Well, I should like it if he only 
know'd this, for the Captain says his duty is to see that 
we don't starve nor freeze." 

" Abominable !" said Mrs. Rodman. "" 

" Cruel and horrible monster !" said Ann. 

"And then you belong to the poor-house, do you?" 
kindly questioned Mrs. Rodman. 

" Yes, I live there. I've been there a good while — 
it's sort of home to me." 

" Then you like to live there, I suppose, better than 
you would to live any where else ?" 

" I s'pose so — don't know about other folks much — I 
likes Mr. Haddock." 

" Is your mother, or your father alive, my boy ?" she 
asked. 

" No ; they died great while ago — most afore I can re- 
member. The Cap'n and Mrs. Bunce are my dad and 
ma'am, so they say." 

" They probably know and can tell us all about the 
boy's parents," said Mr. Rodman to his wife, " they know 
if they are alive." 

" They don't, nuther f said the boy, wdth something of 
a fierce expression . 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERX POOR-HOUSE. 187 

" HoAV do you know, my lad ?" soothingly asked the 
lady. 

The boy's angry expression relaxed as he listened to 
her kind tones, and turned his eyes full on her amiable 
and smiling countenance — " Oh, ma'am," said he, " they 
sware at me, they flog me, they shut me up all day, they 
say if my father or mother was alive they'd send me 
home — they'd get me flogged from morning till night. 
Little do they know or care for me, but to call me names. 
What do they know about my father or mother, except 
that they's dead ?" 

" Well, it may be as you say, poor boy." 

" When the people down there are sick, do they have 
good doctoring ?" inquired the minister. 

" We sometimes have doctoring, and sometimes not. 
I've no need of doctor's stuflF. I takes care of myself. 
But old aunt Dorothy wanted doctoring, so all the poor 
folks say." 

" Ah ! Then if I now understand you, aunt Dorothy 
is dead ?" 

" Yes, sir, she's gone." 

" When did this happen ?" 

" She took to ailing this mornin', and afore night, 
when the Cap'n said he guess'd the doctor'd happen 
round, she got crazy, and when it was good candle 
lighting, she ris up in the bed, shook her old crazy head, 
laughed out kinder wild, sung one of her old tunes, and 
fell back as dead as a door nail." 

" Oh, dear !" sighed out the smitten wife of the 
pastor, 

" A shocking death, I declare," said Ann. 

" And now that the good old lady has breathed her 
last," said the minister, " what is your errand to me ?" 

" Well, the Cap'n says she must be buried as soon as 



188 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

possible, for craziness is sort of catching, and scary any 
way, so he wants you should come down to-morrow at 
one o'clock to make the prayers and see to the fun'ral." 

" I will endeavor to be there," was the low and solemn 
reply. 

" But, husband, is it not strange to hurry her so soon 
to her grave ?" 

" Yes, it seems unnecessary. Yet, there the poor 
creatures are huddled together, and easily frightened, 
and rendered troublesome, and there are few to care for 
them. If one of them is really gone out of the world, 
the silent grave may as well receive the remains. What 
lessons will the living learn by keeping the unclaimed 
body from it ?" 

" Cruel, inhuman, desperate fate !" said she. 

" The poor-house, Mrs. Rodman, is the worst refuge 
of religious humanity that claims to be an institution of 
mercy. My attention has of late been called to it by 
Mrs. Haddock and others, as you know. In fact, it is 
not called so much a mercy as a necessity. The town 
PAUPEES must be supported ; that is the rule under 
which they are leased out and cared for. But mercy 
would clotiie them, warm them, feed them, comfort and 
bless them. Necessity but sells them to the lowest 
bidder — a bidder who cannot make any thing out of the 
job, if he exercises compassion. I am heartily, thorough- 
ly sick of it, disgusted, mortified at its picture. How 
strange a fact is this in our social. Christian system. 
How has it come to be a universal condition of things — 
how discreditable to civilization, wealth, refinement, 
sociality and religion." 

The boy who answered to the name of Jims, seemed 
to listen to these remarks with an attentive ear. It was 
plain that he understood something of what Mr. Rod- 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 189 

m;in had been saying, and was turning over in his 
mind a new development of thought. 

Mr. Rodman continued — " The poor are, in all our 
towns, the most degraded, unfortunate, imbecile, un- 
happy class found in them. Every town has them. In 
some communities they are numerous, v/hile in others 
they are few, but they all answer to one general, hrohen- 
dowii description. They have no money, often little 
character, few if any living friends and relations. They 
have been intemperate, vicious, idle, or extremely un- 
fortunate beyond the bounds of ordinary charity to sup- 
port them. They have, therefore, fallen into this last 
living destiny of humanity, the poor-house." 

" Is it not possible to elevate them ?" inquired his 
wife. " Cannot measures be taken to bring about an 
entire change in the system that now provides in part 
for them — so that the selfishness of tJie benevoleiice may 
not be so prominent ?" 

" We don't know how generally there may be an 
amelioration effected, and the comfort and alleviation of 
the poor secured ; there are those who have deep feel- 
ing in regard to it, and I hope to live to see arrive a 
great improvement in our poor-houses." 

" So do I, by George !" shouted the rude boy, starting 
up from his seat by the stove, and clapping his hands 
together smartly on his bare head. " Say what they 
will," he continued, " the poor-house is a darned patched 
up old consarn. It's so plaguy rotten you are afraid 
you'll fall through the floor into the cellar, and so c — ~ d 
cold ." 

" Don't, don't, my dear boy," said Mrs. Rodman, " don't 
make use of such hard and wicked words. You can 
speak to us calmly, and in words that we shall under- 
stand without using those severe and bitter expressions 



190 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

— can't you — now try." She said this with woman's 
sweetest and most persuasive smile. 

The boy gulped down a whole sentence of oaths, and. 
looked completely at a stand. At last, recovering a lit- 
tle, he began in a mild way — 

"Down there — you know, at the poor-house — it's a- -a 
— a terrible cold place. You see, there's a big fire-place, 
and a tarnal lot of wood, sich as they picks up, thrown 
in, but the old ricketty house hasn't many good doors, 
tight windows, warm floors, or good shingles on the roof. 
"Wet weather drowns us, cold weather pinches us, hot 
weather smuthurs us, and I s — s — swanny, it's no use try- 
ing to git along, and be any body, by — by thunder !" 

" Jist so ; an' you're right, sure ye ar," said Ann, with 
a deep indignation-color over her whole face, and with 
a voice almost as loud, too, as Jims. 

" Well, they call you * James,' I suppose, at the poor- 
house ?" asked the pastor. 

" No, sir ; they call me ' Jims.' " 
'Would you not rather be called James ?" inquired 
Mrs. Rodman. 

" May be I should, if I got used to it. ' Jims' is good 
enough for poor folks, and we are all of us, as the parson 
says, x>oor. We're the poorest kind of folks. There 
ain't one of us who's got a sixpence, unless happen'd so, 
somehow. We don't own any thing, never call any thing 
our own in arnest, not even the clothes we have on, or 
the victuals we eat. Our cider is given to us. We don't 
seem to own our time, our comfort, our pen-knives, our 
loose strings in our pockets, the tools we work with, the 
beds we sleep on. No, sir, w^e ain't worth, as I can see, 
a copper. And, now, these poor folks, when they dies, 
as aunt Dorothy has, is they jist as bad off, or worse ? 
I've a notion, because Cap'n Bunce so of en ' wishes me 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 191 

in ,' and * d s' and ' c s me to ,' that there's 

a terrible site worse poor-houses in 'tother world than 
there is in our'n." 

This was uttered with a wild, solemn, staring look, 
and Mr. Rodman, as well as he could under the circum- 
stances, explained to him what the Bible revealed on the 
subject. 

Jims said he believed there was a heaven for some- 
body, because the old widow Prescott often told him so, 
and urged him to be good and patient, and perhaps he 
would some time go there. But of this he professed to 
have considerable doubt. 

" Good Mrs. Prescott 1" said the pastor's wife, " and 
who is she, Jims ?" 

" Oh, she's one of us ; she's an old body, in a neat let- 
tie room all alone by herself, and I thinks she's as good a 
body as there is amongst us — but, zounds, here it is past 
nine o'clock, and two miles of snow to waller through 
yet." 

" You had better stay here," said all at once. 

" No, no ; I've got to help Cap'n Bunco in the morn- 
ing, and he'd be jist mad enough to liide me if I wam't 
there arly." 

At this moment another loud knock at the door ar- 
rested every one's attention. Mr. Rodman took a light 
into the hall and cried out, " Come in !" The storm, 
which had not in the least abated, seemed to come into 
the hall as fast as the outsiders themselves, who were 
an old, tipsy, clumsily moving man, shabbily dressed, 
and a woman in a coarse close hood, through which a 
face was seen glowing with the fires of a life of intem- 
perance and brutal exposure. 

Both Mr. and Mrs. Rodman knew them at once. They 
were old residents of the town, vagrants, paupers, 



192 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

thieves, wasters, who led a gipsey sort of life, though 
in general bringing themselves round to their own crazy, 
storm-exposed cabin, situated on a lonely bye-path of 
the town, near a swamp and a high rocky range of hills. 
Occasionally, they were " on the town," in consequence 
of great inebriacy, sickness, actual want, or for minor 
offences that in them the town could adjudicate. They 
were now under the care of the town. What had driven 
them forth on such a night as this ? 

Jims started up on their appearance, stared at them, 
and they at him. At length he abruptly vociferated — 

" Well, old Jock Tucker, what y're arter up here this 
time o'night, hay? and you, too, old Pol?" 

" None yer bisness, Jims." 

" 'Tis tother— " 

" No, it ain't, you young varmint 1" said the hag, shak- 
ing her long arm towards him. 

" Well, well, good people," said Mr. Rodman, " don't 
get into a quarrel here now. Just be orderly. Come 
up and warm yourselves." 

" Why, Polly Tucker I" said Mrs. Rodman — " is it pos- 
sible you can be wandering about in such a storm as 
this, and seeming to have no care for yourself! How it 
looks in you, a woman I And besides that, it will be 
very likely to make you really sick. How is it possible 
you can do so ?" 

" Oh, la sus ! Mrs. Rodman, we can't live at the poor- 
house any way. It's a mighty worse way than living in 
the street, or in a decent prison. We won't live in the 
poor-house any longer than we are made to — that'H 
flat !" said she, with terrible firmness. 

" I'll tell yer what it is," said Jims. " You've just run 
away — that's it." 

" None your bisness," said Tucker again. 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 193 

" 'Tis !" said Jims. " You got scart, did ye ! lia ! lia ! 
Because old aunt Dorothy's dead, you made off. Ha ! 
ha! I'm mighty tickled that old Jock and Polly's got 
out the house, for they're as ugly as bulls, and as scaiy 
as owls." 

Luckily Jims, as he said this, darted warily to the 
door and out into the storm, for thus he avoided a heavy 
blow aimed at his head by Tucker with his large cane ; 
Polly, at the same time, snatching her hood from her 
head and hurling it at him with the utmost violence of 
manner. 

" Little c — s !" said Tucker, biting his teeth. 

" Tut, tut ! Mr. Tucker, remember I don't accustom 
myself or family to the hearing of profane words." 

" Well, right is right. You're the best man, Parson 
Rodman, that I ever did see, and I ax your pardon ten 
thousand times. I never swears lest I git riled, and 
that's not of 'en, is it, Pol?" 

" Yes," said she, " every day." 

" It's a darned lie, any how !" 

So the brutal pair went on. They finally pushed ofi" 
into the storm, to go to their own cold, desolate hut, 
only asking for some cold victuals to put in their bag, 
which Tucker slung over his shoulder. They would 
not stay over night : evidently they were afraid " Cap- 
tain Bunco" might be after them to return them to the 

POOR-HOUSE. 

" I wish I knew more about that boy," said Mrs. Rod- 
man. " His countenance interests me, and his condition 
awakens my solicitude," 

" He is the boy who was thought to have burnt Cap- 
tain Bunco's barn," said her husband. 

" Is he !" 

" To be sure. A very bright boy naturally, but so 



194 NEW England's chattels ; ok, 

educated there as almost to destroy him, both for this 
world and the next." 

" Have our ladies done any thing yet for the pau- 
pers ?" 

" I don't know," said he. "I suppose they have ; but 
really I don't know." 

" "Well, do you find out to-morrow and let me know," 
said she, and the conversation dropped. 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERX POOR-HOUSE. 195 



CHAPTER XVII. 

The Tuckers.* Very remarkable character like that of a Johnson, a Pitt, a More, 
a Bonaparte, or a Washington, but occasionally gleams on the path of human 
life. It becomes our duty, consequently, to ponder well every such appearance, 
and endeavor to estimate the chances in favor of any one age or country reaping 
the honor of it ; for great, indeed, is that honor. 

"We have sjDoken of the Tuckers, and as inmates, 
occasionally, of the poor-house. It is now time that 
something should be said more definitely about them, 
inasmuch as quite a link in the history of this tale of 
poverty and misery hangs on them. 

In early life John Tucker married Polly Gooms, a 
wild, stout, ignorant girl, and who, whatever were the 
ways and fortunes of John, clave unto him and them to 
the end. 

Accordingly, as he became a roving, careless, drinking 
vagabond, so did she. They occupied, as their own 
property, a small two-story house, grown crazy by 
neglect and hard usage, situated far from any main road 
in the town, quite at the extreme end of a grass-grown 
street and lane, the upper parts of which were fenced 
in, so that no teams went along there without taking 
down the bars. NotAvithstanding its apparently lone- 

* This story of the Tuckers, their mode of life, their house, its location, its demo- 
lition, the burning scene, and some other matters woven in the same, is given as a 
Connecticut story, true to fact, by the Adthok,' who never knew, however, whjthe 
house was called then- property, nor by what right, whether of possession, deed, or 
otherwise they held it as theirs. It is certain that a pauper, de facto, cannot o^vn 
property over a small amount. He becomes a pauper because of his necessity. 



196 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

some position, it was in a romantic spot ; in the summer, 
a most attractive and beautiful retreat. Behind the 
house there grew a large cluster of tall hickory and oak 
trees ; and beyond this, there was a green and luxuriant 
pasture for the neighbors' cows, for on the parallel 
streets the farmers' dwellings were numerous. On the 
i.orth grew a natural forest of large extent, and in the cen- 
tre there was an extensive swamp, wild and overgrown, 
where luxuriant grapes, and native plums, and scrawny 
apples flourished, and in the openings cranberries, rasp- 
berries, blackberries, wild cherries, strawberries, whor- 
tleberries, etc. This forest was a great protection to the 
house in winter from the winds. It also invited the occu- 
pants to ramble there on business or pleasure at all sea- 
sons — as for fallen (!) fire w^ood in the season of cold, or in 
the summer for nuts, and fruit, and berries, by the sale of 
which they might replenish their lessening stores of 
provision and whisky. In front of the house, between 
it and the lane, there was a little garden lot for potatoes, 
onions, beets, cucumbers, radishes, parsnips, corn, etc., 
but usually allotted to w^eeds ; for whisky drinkers in 
general are poor gardeners — pomology and horticulture 
have little interest to them. A low wall, much rolled 
down and crushed together by time and frequent clam- 
bering over, separated this lot from the grass-grown 
lane, and across this there spread away to the East an 
open, enchanting prospect over the valley, where the 
streams meandered, and little hillocks were covered wnth 
flocks, and wide meadows overgrown with rankest grass 
and sweet-flavored clover ; w^here the corn grew tall 
and luxuriantly, and other grain waved to and fro in the 
gentle breezes that wandered there ; and in the blue 
distance rose the beetling hills, and the waves of the sea 
washed their ragged base, and ships slumbered at their 
anchors. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 197 

Above all this, on the far-off hill-side or slope, was the 
old cottage of Tucker ; and though it looked on the 
loveliest scenery and landscape in nature, it was a deso- 
late, forsaken, smoky, blasted abode. No love, virtue, 
or peace ; no order, thrift, or cleanliness was there. It 
was the habitation of foul and hateful spirits, the home 
of vagrancy and intemperance. 

Beside this cottage, on the same height and street, a 
little removed to the South, there was a single other 
house in sight through the trees — the cherry trees, the 
pear, the apple trees — a small red cottage, occupied by 
an aged couple by the name of Warren. They were 
both infirm, and their children had all left them to en- 
gage in business ways more in accordance v>rith their 
notions of life than the simple mode of their parents. 
Occasionally they made flying visits to the homestead, 
and so, in the time of fruits, came to see the old couple 
scores of their friends and acquaintances in town. 

This aged pair, without the power to lend assistance, 
or to fly if danger threatened to come near them, not 
unfrequently heard the midnight orgies of the Tuckers. 
Oft the cry of " murder," and screams for help, came to 
them through the branches of the trees, and in the 
morning, they were glad to learn it, if nothing worse 
than bruises and swollen eyes resulted from the low 
debauch. 

Polly had her seasons of partial sobriety ; and then 
the neighboring farmers' wives, on washing, and scrub- 
bing, and all-work days, would draw her into service. 
Occasionally John, also, would do a little work, but 
never any thing like a good day's service, at hoeing, 
mowing grass, or harvesting grain. John was nobody's 
right-hand-man for help. Indeed, they were both little 
better or other than home-made gipsies — vagrants of the 



198 NEW England's chattels . or,- 

lowest type of humanity. For the little help they now 
and then rendered, they were paid in money, pork, 
eggs, grain, clothing, and the like. But they laid not 
by the money, neither ate the food, nor wore the gar- 
ments. Every thing that could purchase whisky went 
for whisky, and they ate and wore something poorer. 

And so what was duty in the case ? If Mrs. Rodman, 
the pastor's wife, gave her twenty-five cents for half a 
day's work, it was sure to be spent for rum — in the end 
it was as if Mrs. Rodman had sent and bought for her a 
jug of intoxicating liquor 1 Of course this was a great 
perversion of her wishes and intentions in hiring and 
paying her. Many needed her help, and were of course 
willing, as obliged to pay for it if rendered, so that this 
was a trial to the ladies. What should they do in the 
case ? Many a one said, " I will not hire my work done 
by one whom I know will spend the money she receives 
for it to procure the means of a disgraceful and dis- 
gusting debauch ; I will sooner let it remain undone — 
or attempt it myself." But there were always some 
feeble women, and hard pressed farmers, who occasion- 
ally let go every other consideration if they could ob- 
tain their help. 

We have said that Tucker's house was desolate and 
forbidding whatever were its natural advantages. True, 
it lay in the direction many of the neighboring farmers 
took when by some one or another path, over the broad 
pastures and intervening wood-lands, they sought a 
nearer way than by the road to church, town meeting, 
public fair, or to their acquaintances and friends in other 
parts of the town, but seldom did the passers by call 
and go in. John was often seen ai the door of his cabin 
smoking his pipe, or perhaps lounging around the 
premises in drunken, beastly imbecility and stupidity, 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 199 

or with bloated, haggard and glaring features, leaning 
over the fence, or hard up against a corner of his house ; 
and Polly was like him. They were drunk together, 
and so if ever sober. Sometimes they were mutually 
very cross, savage and brutal ; at other times they were 
simple, foolish and talkative. They had their seasons 
of spasmodic penitence, strange as it my seem ! Then 
they confessed their sins, wept over their life, promised 
to do better, and to seek for the truth. But their good- 
ness soon evaporated ; their reforms were sure antece- 
dents to a drunken revelry and row. In matters of or- 
dinary worldly care, they were wholly thriftless, care- 
less of property, reckless of to-morrows, wasters, wander- 
ing, dissolute vagabonds. Call them gipsies, but then 
they fell below the gipsy in point of true character. 
They were samples, good and true, of intemperance, 
ignorance, profanity and vice. 

As for their dwelling, it never knew the luxury of 
paint, and seldom, except on its outside when the rains 
fell, did it enjoy the dashing over it of water, accom- 
panied by the scrubbing hand of an active and energetic 
housewife. The floors were partly torn up for fuel ; 
the clapboards on the outside stripped off for the same 
purpose, and the steps were gone — probably the same 
way. The house throughout bore no marks of neatness, 
no signs of order ; nothing within it was attractive. It 
had no carpets, no window curtains, no soft, downy 
beds and pillows ; nor had it soft ottomans, tete-a-tetes, 
and no rocking-chairs, no neat crockery filled the closets, 
no well-furnished larder supplied the table-dinners ; 
sadirons were wanting in the chimney fire-place, and the 
very wood on the fire was stolen from the fences and the 
neighboring forests, to the great irritation of the owners. 

Notwithstanding these things, they brought up quite 



200 NEW EN eland's chattels ; OR, 

a family of children, some of whom, despite their paren- 
tage, went away at an early age, and, forming virtuous 
associations, became respected men and women ! But 
they sought in vain to influence their parents to give up 
their nomadic for a fixed and virtuous mode of life : 
others lived with them and became likewise dissolute 
and wicked. 

The house was the resort of the lowest vagrants. Men 
and women who wandered every where accursed by their 
own ways of wantonness and sin, here frequently passed 
whole days and nights together, carousing in the most 
disgusting ways, and separating only as hunger and 
thirst drove them asunder. These were for the most 
part the wandering subjects of the poor-house in town 
and out of it, or those who were from low groggeries 
here and there, rapidly forming characters for the insti- 
tutions of vagrancy. 

Out of this admixture of lewdness and criminality, oc- 
casionally it happened that the town gained a moiety of 
new population, despite the loss in morals and whole- 
some order. And so it sometimes happened, further, 
that the icy touch of death here rested on a victim, and 
then a funeral went forth from the drunken house of 
Tucker. 

" Blarney Moll," as she was called, his oldest daughter, 
died here at twenty-three, a poor creature. And another 
perished in a city where she often strayed. The last 
that died was " Annie Sue," six years before this present 
time, at the age of twenty-five. She was a regular town- 
pauper — was rather stupid, though not a very wild, 
noisy, daring creature, and she really bore some marks 
of feminine delicacy and interest. A child of hers died 
in two weeks from its birth, and the manner in which 
its place was supplied, brings us to an interesting part 
of our story. * 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 201 

We have spoken of the Warrens who lived in the 
neighborhood of Tuckers. 

A young mother lay dying there. ***** 
Let us here mention something of her previous history : 

Julia Carlile was the only child of Henry and Eliza- 
beth Carlile, very respectable inhabitants of Crampton, 
who bestowed on her their united endearments, and 
commenced to give her a finished education. But before 
she was twelve years of age she lost her mother, and just 
after she was thirteen, her father. A great misfortune- 
to a young girl — a great, irreparable loss to Julia, who, 
in consequence, was thrown upon the care of an elderly 
aunt whose ways and government she thoroughly dis- 
liked. Naturally very impulsive, she grew to be ex- 
travagantly wild and thoughtless, neglectful of her 
studies and general cultivation of the mind, and graces 
of the heart and life. Mindful more of her own wishes 
than of her aunt's, and contrary to her expostulations, 
she permitted the attentions of James Sherman, a dash- 
ing blade of the town, a fond son of his parents, but a 
spendthrift, and in love with ways of life that awakened 
at first the solicitude of his father and mother, and at last 
their opposition and rebuke. In two months after tho 
sudden death of her aunt she was married to Sherman, 
then being nineteen j^ears of age. Mr. Sherman was 
highly incensed and mortified. So much was he dis- 
tressed at the conduct of his son, that he soon sold off all 
his property and removed to the West, leaving James a 
very slender portion. With care and economy even on 
this he might have built up for himself a small, quiet 
home, and have had a comfortable maintenance. But 
his pride was wounded, and he became by-and-bye more 
than usually idle and wasteful in his habits. Of course 
the path of temptation is ever widening to its victims, 

9* 



202 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

and James found it so. Not a great while was it ere he 
played hard and drank deep. Of Julia he was passion- 
ately and truly fond. They greatly loved each other, 
and the marriage had on her an effect directly the reverse 
of him — she became more thoughtful and industrious. 
But James' love of his wife was not strong enough to 
save him, his evil genius triumphed — not even the death 
of their first two children sobered and reformed him. 
He became ruinously intemperate, and before their third 
child was born forsook wife and home and sailed for 
the West Indies, where, she learned afterwards, soon 
after his arrival he fell a victim to the yellow fever. 

When this distressing news reached her, she was oc- 
cupying a hired chamber in another town, the mortgage 
on their house having expired, and the holder of the 
claim being unwilling that she should remain in it. Left 
as no young wife could wish to be, without the presence 
of her husband, suffering from poverty, loneliness, and 
neglect, Julia hardly knew which way to turn for relief, 
and in her heart of hearts bitterly lamented the days of 
her youtkful heedlessness and folly. 

Divine Providence takes far better care ol? his creatures 
than they do of themselves, and especially sends relief 
to those who earnestly cry to Him, and also strive to 
help themselves. So it proved in Julia's case. As she 
anxiously, day after day, inquired, " What shall I do ? 
where shall I go ? who will befriend me ?" she remem- 
bered her maternal great uncle, Isaac Warren, the in- 
firm old neighbor to citizen John Tucker, whom we have 
before mentioned. She immediately went and cast her- 
Belf on his protection. The good old man and his wife 
received her with the utmost kindness, and forthwith 
made her more comfortable than she had been for seve- 
ral weeks past. 



LIFE IN THE NOETHEKN POOR-HOUSE. 203 

We have said a young mother lay dying at the War- 
rens. This was Jidia. She had been with them eia;ht 
weeks, and her third child was now about a week old. 

Every thing earthly — all considerations of family, 
home, affection other than the affection that now cen- 
tred in the little infant at her side, led Julia to desire 
to leave the world. For the sake only of the babe, she 
wished to live, and in that point of view, it seemed to 
her cruel to die, although she was fully aware that she 
could not recover. When left alone, she would often 
address her little, unconscious one in words that came 
warm and fresh from her thoughts — " My dear little 
child ! My sweet baby boy 1 Mother must leave you. 
Who will love you and take care of you ? How I cling 
to you, sweet one ! I fear to leave you in this cold 
world alone — poor, poor child ! But God will take care 
of my baby. God will feed him. Heaven will guard 
the darling little lamb. Yes — oh, yes, may its mercy 
bless the innocent." Then she would mourn over her 
husband — " I loved him ; I gave him my whole heart ; 
I pitied him ; I mourned for him ; I mourn him still. 
Poor forsaken one. Ruined ? How can it be ? For- 
saken — sick — dying — in a strange land too ! But I have 
never forgotten him — never. I have loved on as at 
first, and shall do so to the end. My own — my all. My 
husband — precious in the recollections of the past. I 
come to you. I forget you not — no, never, nor shall I 
in death forget, or forsake you." 

Cherishing these sentiments so honorable to herself, 
and comforting to her heart, the young and lovely one 
passed gently away, and the aged couple closed her 
eyes in their last sleep. 

Not long after Mrs. Sherman died. " Annie Sue" 
came into the house weeping for the death of her owt 



204 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

babe. And as the Warrens were perplexed what to do 
with their little charge, and by little and little came at 
last to realize what a providential arrangement this was 
for at least the present rearing of the child, and " Annie 
Sue" herself joyfully acquiesced in the plan, they gave 
her the orphan babe and she became his nursing mother ! 

Before Julia died she called for a pen, and while she 
yet had strength enough for the effort, she wrote as 
follows : " Call my baby James, after his father. This 
is the dying request of his mother ; and let him know 
he had a true and kind father, and a mother who loved 
him to the last. (Signed) Crampton, January 15, 1S3-, 
Julia Carlile Sherman." She then asked for a little, 
delicate silver-mounted tobacco-box, w^hich had been his 
father's, and bore his name on the lid, and into it, after 
carefully folding, she pressed the paper. 

This was the mother of Jims ! 

As for " Annie Sue," she nursed the child, and called 
it her owm. But in every Sense he was a pauper, by his 
parental title, by his foster mother's claim, and his own 
necessity. " Annie Sue" at length would hear to no 
compromise by which she should resign the child. And 
as the old people were rather ashamed of having given 
it up in the first place, they kept the matter secret — 
only the old couple kept possession of the box and its 
precious testimony. 

Although " Annie Sue" had now been dead some five 
or six years, leaving Jims on the town as a pauper, old 
Mr. Warren survived and still kept the document that 
affirmed the actual parentage and legitimacy of our 
young hero. 

In his possession there were also some other papers 
and waitings, incidental fragments of the family history. 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 205 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

Crape for Aunt Dorothy. Crape is a great institution. It belongs to the Genus 
Sackcloth, and so hails from Job, and other far off Personages. Government 
goes for crape. An Administration that wouldn't vote "thirty days" crape 
would be put down ; Jobbers and Consumers would rouse the nation and Old Mo- 
nopoly get awfully crushed between them. You never see a Dignitary, a Dogma- 
tist, a Delectable, a sensible Bachelor, or a sincere Widower who marries the second 
and third time only for the sake of his children, despising crape ! 

Quite to the surprise of Jims, early in the morning 
appeared John and Polly Tucker at the poor-house, com- 
paratively sober, come to pay their respects to the 
remains of old aunt Dorothy. It seems that during- the 
night they had fallen into a discussion on the propriety 
of wearing mourning for her, and as one was in favor, 
and the other in doubt at least, they came down to dis- 
cuss the point with their fellow-sufferers, the mourning 
and bereaved paupers. 

It was a self-evident fact that somebody must act the 
part of mourners for aunt Dorothy, and as she had living 
no near relations, Captain Bunco and the paupers were 
in duty bound to pay her this respect. 

John and Polly started the subject immediately on 
their arrival at the poor-house precincts. It was forth- 
with discussed with considerable animation : 

" It is very proper indeed," said the widow Prescott, 
" and I am glad you have mentioned it. She was an old 
lady, a citizen of the town, that every body used to 
know, and she was good to us — now she is gone, we 
ought by all means to put on mourning." So thought 



206 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

Mrs. Rice, an old, infirm I)ody, who walked with a staff, 
and aunt Joanna Dodge, whose husband, once smart and 
rich, kept the turnpike gate, at the time of his death 
being poor and friendless ! " By all means," said they, 
" go into mourning. How it would look not to do so !" 
" Never was any thing more rational," said tall Ebenezer 
Cowles, who was once a tanner in the town and became 
poor, and who was considerably intemperate and often 
very piously inclined and talkative, " she was a good 
soul with all her failings — I say mourning for her is 
duty." So thought Birge the shoemaker — and Mag 
said, " mourning will be becoming, because ever3'body 
'goes into it' w^hen a friend dies — we shan't be sin- 
gular !" 

" That's my opinion," said John Tucker. 

" We owe it to the dead," said Mrs. Rice and Mrs. 
Prescott. 

" And to the living," said Birge and Cowles. 

" To society of course," said aunt Joanna Dodge. 
" What would society think of us if nobody here put on 
mourning for aunt Dorothy ?" 

" True," said Mrs. Rice, " we ought especially to con- 
sult the feelings of the world." 

" Why so ?" grumbled Dan. 

" Because the world has always put on mourning for 
the departed." 

" Well," said the gruff old pauper, " you see if the 
world puts it on for Aer, — " 

" That's what I'm thinking," said Polly. 

" So was I," said Bill. 

" But the point is," said Tucker, '' what we ought to 
do." 

" Well, it is my opinion," said Mrs. Prescott, " that 
all of us who can, ought to go to the grave, and as far as 
possible in deep crape." 



LIFE IX THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 207 

" That is just what I think," said Mrs. Rice, " it's the 
way that every body does, and we can't escape our duty 
because we are Aere." 

" Well now," said Mag, " if we are going into deep 
mourning, we must all go immediately to work, for the 
funeral is at one, and there'll be none too much time. 
You know the bonnets have to be trimmed, and the 
dresses flounced with crape, and gloves and veils pre- 
pared — it will take all our time and all our efforts to get 
ready." 

All agreed that this w^as true, but no one moved. 

" When my poor man died," said Mrs. Dodge, " we 
went into mourning of course, and it took the whole 
time of two days to get ready, and the Lord knows I 
was in mourning enough without that." 

" I think we might borrow a good many things," said 
Mrs. Prescott. " It's a chastening Providence, Mrs. 
Dodge, when one loses a friend, and one likes to regard 
it properly. No doubt the heart is in mourning with- 
out crape. But then it's the universal practice to appear 
in black, you know ?" 

" Oh, yes, to be sure," said that lady, with a long- 
drawn sigh. 

" Well, I reckon," said Tucker, " mourning for the 
dead goes a great way to reconcile us to Providence ; 
it seems to look as if one felt it dreadfully .'" 

" At all events it is good for the heart of man, John 
Tucker," said the widow. 

" I think if there's any good in it," said Mag, " it's a 
pity it wasn't thought of for the town paupers a good 
while ago." 

" Why so ?" inquired Polly. 

" Because they lose about their full share of friends 
every year, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to keep them 



208 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

in mourning the year round. It ivould do their poor 
souls good /" 

Mrs. Prescott was rather ruiSed at this sarcastic cut 
of the old hag, and said in reply, " Nobody ever mourned 
too much." 

" The richest people in the world," said Mag, " always 
get the most good, aunt Prescott, when their friends die, 
you know !" 

" How so ?" 

" Why, they dress in crape from head to foot, and it's 
all ordered in ' cap-a-pie' style from the shops, and their 
attention isn't distracted by sewing, and borrowing, and 
fitting, and calculating, and so on and so forth — they've 
nothing to do but put on their new-made crape fixings 
when they come, and keep weeping, too, from morning 
to night." 

" Poor souls !" exclaimed Mr. Ebenezer Cowles. 

" How much they may mourn !" said Mrs. Polly Tucker. 

" What a benevolent example to the poor !" said Mrs. 
Rice. 

" How kind they can be in giving away their mourning 
things to somebody else," said Mrs. Dodge. 

" Rich mourners have a good time of it in cities," said 
Mag, " they ride to the cemetery through the handsomest 
streets, in smart coaches, all dressed in their new crapes, 
and smile out of the windows as they go, as if they'd got 
the mourning all on their clothes on the outside." 

" Why, Mag Davis !" said Roxy. 

" Ain't it so, Dan ?" 

" Why shouldn't it be ?" said he, " they're glad at heart, 
for they've got a new pile of money, and that pays for 
the outside rig, coaches and all." 

" And middling sort of folks copy the example, and 
pay as they can," said Jims, who had hitherto said noth- 
ing, but sat a la Turk in the midst of them. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 209 

" Yes, Jims is right, by thunder !" said Tucker. 

"And who pays ior poor folks?'''' inquired Polly. 

" Captain Bunce," said some. 

" The town," said others. 

" There are four things to settle about," said Mag. 
" There's, first, whether we'll go into mourning ; next, 
who'll furnish it ; and then, third, whether we shall ride 
to the grave ; and last, if we'll have prayers at church." 

Now who will say that these poor creatures, once ac- 
customed to all these ceremonies, should not be allowed 
them still ? Is a mourning suit, is a mourning carriage, 
is a church prayer for the dead merely for you and for 
me, who happen to stand on our feet, and are nobody's 
poor ? They felt the loss of an old comrade, or fellow, 
as sincerely as any other class. Their family was in- 
vaded by death — a very prominent member of it was 
stricken from the roll, and now the education of earlier 
life taught them to put on crape. 

But when they sent to Captain Bunce to know whether 
he thought they should do so, and to advise about it, 
what answer do you think the Captain gave them? 

" Go into mourning for old aunt Dorothy !" exclaimed 
he ; " what, the town paupers go into mourning ! If that 
ain't a joke, I'll give up. Ha ! ha ! ha ! ha ! If that isn't 
rich, I can't tell what is. It ought to go on the town re- 
cords, and into all the newspapers. The toicn paupers 
of Crampton, who arn't worth, the whole kit and boodle 
of them, two bright cents in the world, come to me to 
ask if they shan't put on a regular suit of crape ! By the 

L ," said he, " I shall die of laughing. Ha ! ha ! ha ! 

ha ! I wonder old aunt Dorothy don't sing them a psalm 
tune in her coffin. And then they propose coaches — 
and even prayers on the Sabbath ! I vow I believe the 
world is coming to an end. They.seem to think as much 



210 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

of themselves as if they were lords of the soil, with 
money at interest. And yet it would be fun alive to see 
the old crones dressed out in mourning ! All Crampton 
would laugh for a fortnight." The Captain loved a joke. 
There was not an inhabitant of the town who was more 
fond of one. A real good laugh, moreover, always 
«ieemed to do him good, only sometimes it seemed to 
shake him up rather more than most persons would call 
comfortable. He had a way when the paroxysm lasted, 
or when it was at its height, of holding on to something 
like a door-handle, or the back of a chair, or a tree, or a 
post, throwing back his head, looking right up towards 
the sky, and thus stayed up he could give way to the en- 
joyment till the tears ran down his cheeks, and his 
cheeks grew red, and the perspiration gathered in large 
quantities all over him. So he took this joke. One of his 
laughing paroxysms, lasting ten or fifteen minutes, quite 
unmanned him for any earnest, soberly employment, and 
he vowed again and again that he hadn't been so much 
amused since he took the paupers — " It was the very 
height of the ridiculous." 

Most every body would agree with him. Why, what 
nonsense to think of a parcel of broken down, disfran- 
chized, vagrant old paupers presuming to do as society 
in its best condition finds expensive, a terrible — a — a — 
a — terrible bore ! Put on mourning for one that society 
thinks is better off by seven cents a day, at least, for 
dying ? Are these people, the survivors, to ride in our 
carriages to the grave — to borrow our hats and shawls? 
Ridiculous I Is our minister to preach them a funeral 
sermon in our church and make them a prayer ? Non- 
sense ! nonsense ! nonsense ! No, " let them," as Mr. 
Savage says, " let them slide." They are little better than 
dead themselves. And where's the sense in making 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 211 

such an ado about a half dozen paupers, when a hundred 
smart, rich, decent folks are burnt up or drowned in one 
steamboat disaster, or killed in a smash-up of the cars in 
little less than no time, and forgotten in seven days ! I 
say, where's the sense in making so much ado over a 
small lot of paupers ? Arn't they the poorest sort of 
humanity that's alive — a bill of expense, a town-charge, 
always wanting something — and complaining ? What 
good do they do for the public ? — as Savage says — " Let, 
tJiem slide /" 

" Seriously," said the Captain, " you'd do well, all of 
you, to wash yourselves up, and comb your hair, for the 
parson will be here soon, and the funeral will be over 
before you can count twelve. Come, now, stir round, 
be lively, and get things in order here !" 

Thus repulsed, the paupers went shivering about the 
rooms and premises ; the old women feeling happy if 
among their worn clothing they could find a bit of soiled 
crape to tie over a dilapidated cap ! And so the mourn- 
ing for aunt Dorothy was confined to the heart. 



212 NEW England's chattels; or, 



CHAPTER XIX. 

Sermon to the Paupers. Was it or was it not a Gospel Endeavor? There is a 
great itching now-a-days to preach Homiletice and Philosophic Yams, and some 
preach like Yellow Dandelions and Buttercups ! The Gospel's the Gospel for a' 
that, and happy soul is he who preaches it. 

At one o'clock Mr. Rodman arrived, and still it snow- 
ed. The storm of the night had filled the roads with 
snow, and the wind had piled it here and there so as 
greatly to impede the traveling. Mr. Rodman, on his 
way down, was frequently obliged to get out of his 
sleigh and break the road open before his horse could 
proceed. It was difficult to convey a coffin to the grave 
under these circumstances, and some persons would, in 
a like state of things, have deferred the funeral to an- 
other day, especially as the storm would prevent many 
of the mourners from arriving, and others from going to 
the grave. But neither of these objections weighed a 
feather in the case of aunt Dorothy. She hadn't a friend 
the less at her funeral for the storm, nor a carriage the 
less went to the grave. And it was no object to keep 
her corpse a moment above ground beyond the appoint- 
ed hour, as no one could receive from it the least possi- 
ble good, and the society at the poor-house wanted all 
the room there was in that institution. 

Captain Bunce hardly regained his usual composure 
sufficiently to look concerned and sorry, when the 
clergyman arrived, especially as he observed the effort 
made by all the paupers to look as if in mourning. The 
widow Prescott had on her very cleanest cap, an old 



LIFE IN THE NOKTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 213 

relic of other days, musty Avitli time and careful preser- 
vation in a tight drawer, around it circling a plain band 
of mourning ribbon. Prink and prim she sat near the 
head of the coffin, and appeared as chief mourner. One 
and another had found some rag or strip of black for 
dress, hat, or cap ; the instinct natures, or education, and 
the longing for mourning, inducing the conceit in them 
that it made the sad obsequies of aunt Dorothy more 
accordant with the mournful Providence ! And all, as 
Captain Bunce directed, had washed them, and brushed 
and combed their locks. There sat they, grouped to- 
gether, the aged, feeble, pale, sallow, simple ones, with 
the younger also, equally squalid and wretchedly clad, 
with lustreless eyes and sad, desponding features — mere 
wrecks of humanity, dependent on the cold charity of 
the world for every comfort, however small, that they 
enjoyed, and pining away, nearly helpless from old age, 
or from chronic diseases they had no power of constitu- 
tion to resist — who were sure victims of cold and wet, 
and burning heat, and especially of any prevailing sick- 
ness or epidemic in the community around. And they 
sat together as mourners — the chief mourners in the 
case of a departed companion, in the tribulation of this 
weary " mortal state." Though too poor to buy them a 
mourning habit, the God of nature clad every counte- 
nance of them with a grief that spoke the language of a 
true sorrow, and they looked to the observer as really 
weeping for the dead, as though it had not been to her 
an infinite gain ! 

Thus hold we all to life. 

Mr. and Mrs. Haddock were at the funeral, and two 
or three other neighbors. The minister, Mr. Rodman, 
before the prayer, made a short address to the people, 
and selected as the ground of his remarks the solemn 



214 NEW England's chattels; or, 

words of Scripture, " So then every one of us shall give 
account of himself to God." Mr. Rodman was a very 
good dissector of Bible truth, and of human cliaracter. 
He knew very well that nothing would reach the hitman 
depraved heart, if the words of the gospel failed of this, 
and he was, consequently, very faithful and skilful in 
exposing the heart, and applying to it the healing word 
of truth. This was his usual character. But the con- 
gregation he now addressed was somewhat new, a little 
out of his usual routine, and he had some difficulty in 
choosing the course of argument with them, that would 
enable him most effectually to meet their necessities, 
and so improve their hearts. Ee had felt this before, 
it is true, on like occasions, but never did he more 
sensibly so feel it than now. After coming to a decision, 
:e attempted to perform his duty in a faithful, though 
iffectionate manner. 

Apprising them of their loss, he then called their at- 
tention to two very serious and important truths pre- 
sented in the words of the text. First, the universal 
fact, that we ourselves, and all men must appear before 
God. Second, the equally solemn and- universal truth 
that we must give a personal account of our life to God. 
Under the first department of thought, he assured them 
that they would all, one after another, leave the world 
and appear before their Maker. He told them, that not 
one of their number could possibly avoid this ; there 
being no age long enough to outlive the Almighty, no 
arm strong enough to resist death, no secret place 
where one might cover himself from view, no flight so 
distant whereunto the arrow of the King of Terrors 
would not follow them. He further represented the 
different modes of death and times of it, and assured 
them that as it had been with the deceased so would it 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 215 

prove with them, that they must go alone out of the 
world, how many friends or companions soever they 
might now have around them. Death would cut them 
all down. 

Under the second division of the subject, he repre- 
sented earnestly the great and solemn fact that any one 
who goes into eternity is a sinner, condemned and vile, 
and utterly lost forever, in consequence of his sinful- 
ness, except as he may have the forgiveness of God 
through repentance of sin and faith in the merits of the 
Saviour, the Lord Jesus. He represented the certainty 
of a solemn, searching, judgment day, when the hearts 
of all men would be laid open, and every one, willing or 
unwilling, be required to give a strict account of him- 
self to God, the Searcher of Hearts. " Then," said he, 
" what a painful revelation of the sins and follies of 
life Avill be made ! Is it not enough to startle and af- 
fright you here ? Do you not tremble when you think 
of your manifold iniquities — the sins, and all the shame- 
ful vices of your lives ? Oh ! how will they appear be- 
fore the great white throne — before God the judge of 
the world ?" He besought them to consider these so- 
lemn truths then, even while gathered around the cold 
remains of their deceased friend, and so by timely re- 
pentance escape the horrors of the judgment day. 

Mr. Rodman's prayer was in some sense a repetition 
of his sermon, although as he got nearer and nearer to 
the mercy-seat it waxed more fervent, and breathed out 
earnest and affectionate supplications in behalf of the 
desolate group that surrounded him. 

Mr. Rodman had begun to see and to feel the misery 
— the blight and mildew of the poor-house system under 
which these wrecks of humanity were plodding their 
way to the grave. Frequent short conversations with 



216 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

the Haddocks and Phillips' had contributed to awaken 
his interest in the matter, so that he was often found 
alluding to the poor in his sermons and prayers, to the 
evident surprise and discontent of his parishioners, 
Messrs. Smith, Newcombe, Shire & Co. But still his 
eyes were holden that he should not see the whole 
truth. 

After the services of the hour were closed, he went 
among the people — ^the paupers, shaking hands with all 
and saying a few words to them. As he came near 
where Mag Davis w^as sitting, coiled up something like 
a catamount ready to spring on her pre}^, she spoke out 
in her usual sententious and sarcastic manner — " Your 
sermon, parson Rodman, was, I doubt not, every word 
'ont true, but it was no new thing to one of us ; we've 
all of us sinned under just sich truth of the law all our 
born days, having had the law but not kept it. Now, 
havn't you a Gospel for such poor devils as we are — 
some invitation, some entreaty, some word of marcy — 
some promise — hey ?" 

" Don't be troubling the minister here," said Captain 
Bunce, rudely coming up and making preparations to 
receive the coffin, which consisted of the plainest stain- 
ed boards, with few — very few ornaments ! " Mr. Rod- 
man is tired, and we have much to do !" 

The conversation closed, and Mr. Rodman fell back to 
his place, but the arroAv had left the bow, and it quiver- 
ed deep in his own soul. His sermon had recoiled on 
himself, and the whole power of its thunder was echoing 
along the domains of his own heart. He had proclaimed 
the terrors of the law to those who knew the law, but 
yet had all their life known and resisted it, were still 
resisting it. They had not felt the tender pleadings of 
the Gospel — had not so seen the suffering Saviour and 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 217 

his cross, as that their sorrow and love were revived, 
but they stood trembling when the Gospel might, and 
the Gospel alone could do them good. Mr. Rodman's 
eyes were now opened, and he was forever made a 
soul-friend and pleader for these miserable, wretched 
outcasts, the forgotten people of the gay and busy 
world. And all the way to the grave he meditated 
over the subject. He accused himself bitterly, too, for 
his past blindness and obtuseness of heart ; that he 
could see the poor wretches suffer and die without re- 
flecting on their need of all the consolations the Gospel 
is fitted to impart to them — without sympathy for 
them, Avithout any earnest thought or action in their 
behalf, they of the highways and hedges, for whom the 
son of God suffered and proclaimed the Gospel ! 

Aunt Dorothy's remains were taken to their last rest- 
ing place on a large common sleigh bottom. It was 
usual to take the bodies of inmates of the poor-house to 
their burial in a similar manner. A hearse was not 
thought of for a moment. The funeral charges of a 
pauper are not, says the law, " to exceed six doUars." 
In the summer, when one died, the remains were carried 
in a sort of lumber-wagon. The whole thing was eco- 
nomically arranged, and the grave was made along side 
of others from the poor-house, so that the general lo- 
cality could be known without the necessity of particu- 
larizing it by the help of marble ! No head-stones were 
furnished for their graves. They slumbered in them 
who were their tenants, forgotten and unknown, till the 
judgment morn. 

The storm was a fearful one in which aunt Dorothy's 
corpse was lowered to its rest, forbidding all remarks, 
and requiring every degree of exertion, and all haste 
possible. But the tempest of the old songstress' mind 

10 



218 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

was hushed ; her cares and difBculties were ended. 
Little thought or cared she for the storm that howled a 
requiem over her. 

As they turned away from the grave, Mr. Rodman ob- 
served the slender form of Jims in the snow, holding his 
horse by the head. " Thank you, my lad," said he, " I 
am sorry that I can't talk with you a little, but we must 
all hurry aw^ay. Will you come up and see me some one 
of these days, eh ?" 

Jims rolled up his hat from off his eyes and said, " I'll 
come when the next one goes off, if the Cap'n says so." 

"Eh?" 

" I say, when the next one of us tips the bucket, I'll 
come and tell you." 

" Oh, ho ! I suppose I understand you. But I should 
like to see you any other time, so good-bye ; come if you 
can." 

Jims put his hands in his pockets, and was staring 
after him, when he felt himself seized by the collar and 
jerked violently backwards into the snow, at the same 
time the voice of Captain Bunce, like a buU bellowing in 
a tornado, rung in his ears. " Don't stand there with 
your hands in your breeches, boy, but help fill up this 
grave! There now, pull in the gravel with that hoe. 
Here, Dan ; work nimbly, boys, or we shall get covered 
up by this tremendous snow-storm. Hang her — die in 
such a storm as this ! It costs more to bury her than 
two of her are worth. But she's done with — she's made 
us a world of trouble, and this closes the account. There, 
boys, that'll do for aunt Dorothy. Now bring round the 
team. It's a mile home, and I don't see but we must 
make a new track, every foot of it. Nimble, now\" And 
so they moved away, leaving there poor old aunt Dorothy 
Brinsmade in her winding-sheet, the deep, cold snow 
fast gathering on her grave. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHEBN POOR-HOUSE. 219 



CHAPTER XX. 

Northern Human Chnttels. Where is Aunt Dodge? 

A MONTH now wore away. The grave had been again 
opened, but this time to receive all that was mortal of 
Mrs. Bunce, whom we mentioned as cut down by sick- 
ness soon after the conclusion of the arson examination. 
Boyce was tending the same way, and the constitution 
of Mrs. Boyce, as it was found, had received so great a 
shock by her shipwreck and subsequent trials, as to 
leave small hope that her life would not be the forfeiture. 
Every day Jims came in to inquire how they did, and his 
heart trembled for the little Alice, lest she also should 
become a pauper, after her parents had left the world. 

The care of their little daughter greatly troubled both 
of her parents. It was true that she had many a friend 
and relative in England, but none nearer than uncles 
and aunts, and the difficulty of returning her there at so 
early an age seemed to them almost insurmountable. 
But if they did not, she would most positively be left in 
the hands of those strangers to whom they were them- 
selves indebted for their present comforts ; who could 
tell what misfortunes or the changes of life might com- 
pel them to do with her ? 

But those friends were tried friends, whose charities 
were not stimulated by the uprisings of a mere transient 
emotion of pity, or the desire of applause from the world. 
They had in them the true convictions of duty, and they 



220 NEW England's chattels ; oe, 

obeyed them. Conscience and reason spoke to them, 
and they listened. Religion shewed them her paths of 
benevolence and self-denial only to inspire them with a 
determination to walk in them at every sacrifice. They 
knew from the Gospel, and from their own experience, 
it Avas " more blessed to give than to receive." 

Mrs. Rodman, Mrs. Haddock, and Mrs. Phillips now 
frequently held sessions together, in which they consult- 
ed for the good of the poor in general, and in which 
they made an arrangement for the little Alice in par- 
ticular. It w^as the earnest desire of Mrs. Rodman that 
the child might be given into her care, and she would 
undertake to educate and provide for her in the future. 
To the two friends, Mrs. Haddock and Mrs. Phillips, 
this arrangement was entirely desirable. To Mr. and 
Mrs. Boyce it was melancholy pleasing, their hearts 
yearning over their dear one, and the wish yet living 
in their hearts that she should once more be permitted 
to see her native land. 

And it was finally stipulated that when she was 
eighteen years of age, she should be allowed to make a 
visit to her relatives in England, and look after any 
legacies or property that might have in the meantime 
fallen to her there, provided she herself was anxious to 
go, and there w^ere no insurmountable obstacles in the 
way. 

And thus the orphaned one found a home and friends. 

But who can tell us where the red-capped widow 
Dodge has gone ? It is now February, and she has been 
away for a fortnight ; no one knows where, no one 
seems to consider it of much importance. When Cap- 
tain Bunce was asked what he thought of it, he replied 
that he thought very little of it, unless that she had got 
into some other poor-house, and the town there would 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR- EOUSE. 221 

be sending him a bill soon for keeping her. As for look- 
ing after her, the Captain never thought of that. He 
said the paupers always came back as soon as he cared 
to see them. 

And so she remains off a long time — probably doing 
well in some other habitation of God's poor ! 

But her place is somewhat missed by the widow Pres- 
cott, for she is a sensible old lady of piety, and the two 
have long been acquainted. Mrs. Dodge was raised in 
affluent circumstances. Her young life was one of al- 
most unalloyed happiness. Her father and mothei 
moved among the highly influential of the town, her 
two brothers and three handsome sisters were her un- 
selfish admiration and constant companions, and they all 
moved in the first society of the place. 

But a great change came over the family. Joanna 
married one of the young merchants of the town, and 
her prospects were bright and her heart y/as buoyant 
and happy for a time. At length the dark cloud began 
to gather round her, and she lived to follow to the 
grave every one of her father's house. And her hus- 
band became, as alas ! too many have done in whom the 
hopes of wives, loving through all changes of life, have 
centered, confirmed in ways of intemperance, and saw 
the ruin of his fortune. 

In this advanced life they were glad of the humble 
station of keepers of the turnpike gate, and when the 
death of her husband left Mrs. Dodge a widow, it was 
not long ere in her infirmity of body and mind she was 
forced to apply to the town for support. 

And now she is " the widow Joanna Dodge, with the 
red cap." And she who was the "belle Joanna Mar- 
tin" in her youth, and the excellent Mrs. Dodge in her 
middle life, sensible and chatty and benevolent — good 



222 NEW England's chattels; or, 

to all — even to the poor, may go and come as a town 
pauper any where, it makes but little difference where 
or when, provided she is no bill of expense to him who, 
for a stipulated sum, gives her her daily food and yearly 
raiment. Nobody feels in duty bound to carry her if 
lame, weary or sick, nobody to feed her if hungry, or 
clothe her if her garments are tattered and soiled. She 
is too poor to make one any return for his benevolence 
to her ; or to merit the attention of society, as the prin- 
ciple on which benevolence generally turns with them 
is this : to do good to those who can in some manner 
repay us the same again. The poor people have a very 
slim chance therefore, considered as so much per cent, 
of society under marketable valuation, or as so much to 
the loss and gain of community — they are despised, and 
turned from as of less value than good working, hearty 
servants, be the same white or black. The town paupers 
as such, are not regarded as eligible to office, as capable 
of any business or trust of importance above that of a 
child, or a half idiotic, sputtering dunce.* In the old 
poor-houses they were, and now are, a cast-off portion of 
humanity, moaning in weakness, hunger, thirst, naked- 
ness, filth, disease and moral contamination, too de- 

* From the following note, taken from the New York Sun, January 8, 1857, it 
would appear that a town pauper was once elected to a very important ofiSee. — 
Author. 

" It may be remarked here, that the attempts made by town authorities to get 
rid of the support of paupers are generally very pertinaciotis, and sometimes lu- 
dicrous. It is a fact, that, in one of the neighboring States, where there was but 
one pauper, he was elected a member of the Legislature, and actually took his 
seat ; and, it may be added, the fact of his being a pauper might not have been 
known, had not a bill been introduced to give the bodies of paupers to surgeons, 
which he understanding to mean while the said paupers were alive, was so agitated 
that his real character became known ; and the scene raay be better imagined than 
described, when he made a solemn appeal to his constitutional rights, against such 
a monstrous law as the one proposed." 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 223 

graded, too loathsome often to awaken other than re- 
volting reflections. Accordingly, following this fashion 
of the world, the church, and the individual Christian 
cast them off, and passed by on the other side. The 
" contributions for the poor" at the Lord's table, were 
not made for the poor paupers — they received them not, 
such monies were carried past them, to some sick or 
weak, though respectable poor brother or sister in some 
respectable family, or under what might still be his or 
her own roof. How little of it, if any, ever visited the 
poor-house ! 

Thus it was and is, that the principle on which it 
stands, of reducing the poor of the town to the condition 
so nearly of chattels, is wrong. Nobody will seek to 
relieve distress that is provided for by the public vote 
and law. The persons who bind themselves to feed and 
clothe and comfort the paupers, are expected to do this 
in their own way, especially as the bargain made is a 
tight one for the contracting parties, as all concede ! 
They are not to be interfered with by my ways and 
directions ! How can they carry out their plans secure- 
ly if you and I, and others, may dictate to them, and 
undertake to do anything that will create among the 
subjects of pauperism a state of ingratitude — a complain- 
ing, jealous spirit? Hence the paupers are often worse 
off than slaves. They are sold for the year to one who, 
if he cannot work them some, will be sure to make up 
his loss from their food, raiment, and shelter. And 
their position is the more degrading, that it is often a 
perfect contrast to their former life. Many a one has 
known the luxury of wealth ; many have been in large 
business, in offices of trust, in places of fashion and 
amusement ; others have traveled much abroad ; and 
again, others have been great readers of books, and in- 



224 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

structor in science ; they have been advocates at the 
bar, and ministers at the altar. The changes of Fortune 
are many and wonderful. Look in at one of our prisons, 
and see who are the operatives there at the anvil, on the 
work-bench, at the loom, at stone cutting, at coopering, 
tailoring, and so forth. Are they not from every grade 
in human society ? And so is it with the poor. Misfor- 
tune, infirmity, disease, and old age, instead of statute 
crime, have made men paupers. Unfortunate, though 
often personally vicious in their ways, they have come 
to be imbecile and harmless, instead of strong for crime 
and cunning for evil. So they drop out of the leaf of 
the book of humanity, and are known no more. They 
may suffer, may be horribly, cruelly treated, may starve, 
sicken and die — die of fever, of cold, and hunger and 
nakedness ; but it makes little, if any difference to other 
men. The world is glad to let them go to their last home t 
We speak of the poor-house that is made such by the 
hammer of the auctioneer. Paupers at the North, in 
public town-meeting of freemen, religious men, intelli- 
gent men, the husbands of delicate and refined lady- 
wives, the fathers of promising and gifted sons and 
daughters, men in business, men in office, men who read 
and think and pray, do sell their oiim -poor and infirm fel- 
loiv-citizens, because they are poor and helpless! TO 
THE LOWEST BIDDER ! They sell them for so much 
a year — and repeat the sale at the end of the time for 
another year — growing no wiser, more thoughtful or 
merciful by the lapse of time, or the workings of the 
system. While slaves are sold, even the aged and infirm, 
to the highest bidder, as are cattle, horses, lands, goods, 
stocks — these, the paupers, being destitute of value and 
having only souls, not bodies tit for toil or pleasure, are 
cast aside as useless, mere excrements on the great body 



LIFE IN THE NOETHEEN POOE-HOUSE. 225 

of society, valuable only as they perish and so make room 
for others ! 

The work-houses, the colored homes, the orphan asy- 
lums, the lunatic asylums, the penitentiaries are places 
for the recovery of some and of hopeful labor in respect 
of most ; or else they are the charity of the public and 
of individuals to relieve such as have some claim on 
them for the exercise of benevolence, distinct from that 
of mere pauperism. The hospital is not the poor-house. 
The alms-house is, in some sense, the modern improve- 
ment of the poor-house — it is one form of improvement, 
and is peculiarly adapted to populous towns and cities. 
It is not always well conducted. But where this is not 
appropriate, there should be either a county farm, or 
town farm, with ample accommodations for healthful ex- 
ercise, and opportunity for such and so much labor, as 
individual cases may require, with every degree of care 
to secure clean and well ventilated apartments for every 
person in the establishment, correct associations and 
familiarities ; securing to the aged women, and infirm or 
delicate, warm, pleasant rooms, with easy seats and car- 
pets and curtains and lights, bibles and other books ; 
to the children proper care and instruction, and to all 
that proper food, which every one of us, gentle readers ! 
would, under similar circumstances, desire. If, under 
this kind and reasonable care, the lives of the paupers 
were lengthened out some five or ten years, and so the 
town might fear that an additional expense would arise 
from so keeping them, it must be replied that in all 
cases, or nearly so, where this system has been adopted, 
the paupers have work on the farm and jDremises more 
than enough to support the institution,'^ and so the town 

* Article in Kew York Tribune, from James Brewster, Esq., of New Haven, 
Ct., Dec, 1856— AuTH. 

in* 



226 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

has actually derived from it a surplus revenue. At the 
same time, it should be to us a joyful consideration that 
the paupers are in this way brought up from a state of 
humiliation and degradation once more to the rank of 
comfortable citizenship — in effect no longer slaves, or 
worse than slaves, they are where the benevolence of 
Christianity can reach them — where society no longer 
casts on them her dark shadow of neglect. 

But where is the widow Dodge ? She comes not. 
Poor Henrietta sits a long hour with the widow Prescott, 
and wonders why Mrs. Dodge is not at home. Jims says 
she is better off somewhere. Mrs. Rice thinks she has 
found some old relation who has opened her doors to 
give her w^inter quarters, and Bill thinks she is old 
enough to take care of herself. Mrs. Prescott thinks it 
would be a pity if anything should happen to her in her 
old age, and as she looks on the cold snows of February, 
shakes her head, and says — " I fear I shall dream bad 
things of her." 

" Now, Miss Prescott," said Mag Davis, " you're a be- 
liever in dreams, are you ?" 

" I believe in them ! of course I do. Didn't the peo- 
ple of God in old times ' dream dreams' ?" 

" Perhaps they did," said Mag, " but dreams now-a- 
days seem to me of mighty little consequence." 

" Don't all dreams come from the Lord ?" inquired 
Mrs. Prescott. 

" No, I don't believe they do. How should He have 
anything to do with making your dream a thing that 
never comes to pass, hey ?" 

" There ain't such dreams !" said Bill. 

" There ain't many I guess," said Mrs. Prescott, a little 
bewildered. 

" They are as thick as beef soup," said Mag. 



LIFE IN THE NOKTHERN POOS-HOUSE. 227 

" Well now, name one," said the old lady Rice. 

" Ob, that's very easy," said Mag, " I dreamed the 
other night that all the paupers of Crampton were put 
into a grand house, with carpets on the floors, and cur- 
tains to the windows, and good changes of clothes fur- 
nished them, and as good a home as they ever had, and 
victuals and drink of the very best kind. Now that's 
an instance. Every one of you knows that the Lord 
never gave any body such a dream as that — so perfectly 
impossible a thing !" 

" The Lord— no, indeed !" said Bill. 

" Why not ?" inquired Mrs. Prescott. 

" Because it would be tantalizing his creatures, and 
tempting them, which the Lord never does." 

" Well, now, it seems to me," said the widow, "just 
like this — that the Lord was so merciful to you and to 
us, that he was willing to show us in such a dream how 
unbounded was his power and his mercy ; that he could 
even lift us up out of this pit of woe, as he did Jeremiah 
and Joseph, and as he recovered Daniel from the den of 
lions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fiery 
furnace. Now we must believe in him with strong faith 
— perhaps if we had faith he would do something for us 
as good as that dream, every bit of it, Mag." 

Good old praying saint, she sees mercy in every dis- 
pensation, the outstretched arm of Israel's God in every 
cloud. 

" Now, Mrs. Prescott," said Dan, " what's the use of 
talking after that sort? You know that Mag's dream is 
a regular devil's idea to worry people. There's no more 
hope of it's coming to pass than there is that Captain 
Bunco will live a hundred years." 

" I have great faith," said she in reply, " in the Lord's 
promises ; and does he not say, your sons and your 
daughters shall dream dreams?" 



228 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" Well, did that mean Mag Davis ?" said Dan. 

" Of course it did !" said Mag, with a shout and a 
laugh. " Well, now," continued she, " I had another 
dream — want to hear it, say ?" 

" Yes, tell it," said several. 

Poor, ignorant, and oppressed creatures always love 
to tell and hear dreams ; they are a superstitious class 
of persons. " Well," said Mag, " now get your ears wide 
open ; this is a true dream, and scarey, too. One night, 
it was a dark, stormy night, the wind was very high, and 
the old trees swayed one way and another, groaning 
like the ghosts that sometimes come round here from 
the graves of our sort of folks — for you know they can't 
rest easy in their graves, don't you ?" 

" That's likely enough," said Cowles, who was rather 
easily frightened, having thought he had seen a ghost 
two or three times running through the orchard and 
dancing about among the trees — " I have no doubt they 
do rise." 

•' Nor I," said Mag, " not one jot nor grain." 

" I hope there are none out to-night," said Dan, with 
some more concern than he usually exhibited. 

" If there are any," said Jims, " they'll shake their teeth 
in your face, old Dan, I know." 

'' Why so ?" growled he. 

" Because they are going to have your body and soul 
as soon as they can make room for you," said the boy. 

" Get you gone, boy, don't fury me — what's the use ? 
Well, go on, Mag." 

" The ghosts rise, everybody knows that, when they're 
a mind to, and I say it was a good night to remind one 
of them that I speak of, a dark, stormy, windy, howling 
night, and I could see something moving about in the 
orchard that seemed to me half ghost, and half animal 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 229 

with horns— all scaring me a good deal, so that I went 
and told aunt Dorothy, now dead and gone, though I 
think lier ghost isn't far off." 

" Pshaw !" exclaimed Dan. 

" Well, she said it looked frightful, and we both trem- 
bled, till finally it slowly began to fade away, and by-and- 
bye totally disappeared behind the barn." 

" The old white horse !" said Bill, " as true as I'm a 
live soul, ha ! ha ! ha !" 

"How do you know what it was, nigur?" shouted 
the hag. 

" Because I saw him, and led him away myself. Miss." 

" You lie— it was a ghost," said Mag, in tones as sharp 
and mad as a hyena—" it was a ghost I I saw it and so 
did aunt Dorothy." 

" I led the old horse away, I tell you, by the ear of his 
head, and took him round behind the barn, and so on 
into his stable. There was no ghost, miss, not a speegle 
was out that night— nor is there — very often, my word 
for it," said old Bill, with spirit. 

But Mag was a hard one to put down, and was only 
pacified by Dan seizing her by the wrists and holding 
her as in a vice, while he thundered in her ears — " Be 
still, you hag, and tell your dream. Let the ghosts go to 
h— , where they came from. Give us the dream, I say 
— do you hear ?" 

" By and bye," said Mag, " we laid down and went 
Id to a hard sleep. But I kept dreaming all night, and 
once I dreamed that aunt Joanna Dodge was out a good 
way from home, plodding along in the snow with her red 
handkerchief on her head, weeping on account of her 
sorrows and the bad walking ; when all at once a good- 
looking person dressed in misty white came along and 
threw a white blanket over her and took her into his 



230 NEW ENGLANI S CHATTELS ; OR, 

care. Then she got along well. By and bye I thought 
there was a great wedding and a mighty crowd of people 
present. But "who do you think was the bride, hey ?" 

" Don't know !" said several. 

" Can't you guess ?" inquired she. 

" No, unless it was aunt Joanna herself," said Mrs. 
Prescott. 

" And it was she ! It was old aunt Joanna herself, 
married and took to a steady home in her old age. Ha ! 
ha ! ha !" shouted the dreaming Mag. 

The widow fairly hung her head down in her lap. 
She didn't know what to say. 

" There I I knew it would puzzle you," said Mag. — 
" Isn't it * odds and likely' that my dream of aunt Joanna 
will come to pass ? ha ! ha ! ha !" 

" Perhaps it will for all," said Mrs. Rice. " You know 
old folks sometimes get married." 

" But they are not often paupers !" said the old crone. 

" Well, I knew of one old cripple. Miss Hugglewill," 
said Mrs. Rice, " that the overseers of the poor in a 

town in , hired another to marry, by giving him a 

hundred dollars — and they were actually married." 

" Yes," said Mag, " and how long did they live to- 
gether ?" 

" Don't know, nor care," said the other. 

" Well, I know. They lived together just three weeks, 
and then petitioned for a separation, and the courts 
said there had been no legal marriage at all, ha ! ha ! 
ha!"* 

" Who knows," said aunt Prescott, looking up calmly 
upon them, " who knows," and she now looked serious 
and solemn, " who can tell, but this also was one of the 
Lord's dreams, to show us poor, sinful creatures, that 

* M , Vermont. — Auth. See Appendix, A. 



LITE IN THE NOKTHEEN POOR-HOUSE. 231 

aunt Joanna will be invited to and entertained at the 
marriage supper of the Lamb at the great white throne 
of God in heaven?" 

And the frightened, and railing, and laughing group 
of wretched paupers, grew serious also, and still, and 
thoughtful, and more calm, and one by one they slunk 
away to their quarters for the night. 

Jims rolled in the old blanket on the floor, snored and 
dreamed, and shrieked, for he seemed once to think 
three or four ghosts were chasing him through the 
branches of the apple trees, and Mag was one of them, 
spouting fiery arrows at him from her burning eyes and 
mouth, and threatening to shake him over the pit of fire. 
And then he dreamed that Captain Bunce kept him for 
a whole week in a dark, dungeon-like room, on a crust 
of bread and a little water, for stealing chickens. 

Dan dreamed that he was in heaven, and awoke hor- 
ribly exercised in mind lest it should, alas ! for him, prove 
true. Little heart had he for tliat world. But the night 
wore away and the speegles retired to their graves. 
Ghosts never rise but in the night. 



232 NEW England's chattels ; or, 



CHAPTER XXI. 

Paupers not tneir own masters or law-makers ; which appears very like a state 
of Involuntariness — were it not in New England ! 

It is not strange that neglected and poorly cared for, 
and despised as were the paupers, many of whom had 
seen better days, and still carried with them some re- 
maining sparks of former character and life, they should 
develope in this condition the very worst features of 
vice, and justly incur the odium that rests on those who 
lead a vagrant, idle, wasteful life ? They could but 
know and feel their degradation. They were not sent 
to the poor-house as lunatics, nor as criminals against 
the laws. They were held in the condition occupied by 
them simply because they were poor and friendless — or 
because they could not supply themselves actual food 
and raiment enough to keep them alive. Society in a 
Christian land know that they must not starve by the 
way side, nor offend community by their nakedness. 
And the poor-house system grew out of this conviction 
and the necessity of the case. It was not a system of 
cheerful, sympathetic benevolence, but a system of co- 
erced relief, in which the people at large submitted to 
a tax on their property at the smallest possible rate — it 
being understood that the paupers who received the aid 
should not be regarded as claimants on their property 
in any sense, and the tax should be a gratuity sufficient 
only for the merest necessity, and nothing beyond. 

Of course, at the annual town meeting, the poor, these 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 233 

white men, women and children (!) were, and in many a 
town in New England it is still so, put up at puhlic auc- 
tion and sold to be thus supported for the term of one 
year, to the lowest bidder — to that person, who after care- 
fully figuring all the cost, is of the opinion he can safely 
to himself take the risk ! or the selectmen of the town 
make a contract with him in the name of the town. 

So is it in good, wise and pious New England, the 
land of a brave and chivalrous ancestry, the land of the 
free, the land blessed with and afiluent in schools, and 
colleges, and churches, whose praises live in the songs of 
ages ! 

But shame on New England, that she can thus sit 
calmly by the degradation of her poor — that she can for- 
get the thousands of her own native children in these 
polluted poor-houses, half-starved, half-clad, half-shel- 
tered, pampered stock for early graves, tottering souls 
but half informed, or remembering that a Saviour came 
into the world ! 

Is there a church of Christ in New England guilty of 
this blood ? a priest who walks by on the other side this 
great poverty? Let both remember that it was of the 
poor in the hedges and by the highways, that the mar- 
riage was supplied with guests ; that to the poor the 
Gospel was preached ; that the Son of God came to seek 
and save the lost ; that the impotent and feeble folk 
were the special objects of a Saviour's touch and re- 
covering word ; that the despised harlot was forgiven, 
and that Jesus went among the poor with charity's 
purest aim, with a benevolence that heaven smiled on, 
and that earth, awakening from her sloth and sin, should 
arise to imitate. 

Not only are the paupers of New England poorly sup- 
plied with food, raiment, and often shelter, but from 



234 NEW England's chattels ; oe, 

them have been taken many civil rights and privileges 
incident to a state of freedom. We shall make this ap- 
pear as we proceed. Suffice it to say in this place, that 
in some of the Free States those citizens who became 
chargeable, as paupers, to the towns or to the State, 
are disfranchised.* They are not allowed to vote ; they 
do not serve on a jury ; they can not marry as they 
will ; if they have children, they cannot decide where or 
when they shall go to school or leave it, learn a trade, or 
go to any other service or business. Neither can they 
choose who shall keep themselves ; nor, except by en- 
treaty, can they have any particular or special mode of 
life when at the poor-house, as to room, employment, 
food, or associates. Still they are not absolutely slaves ; 
for although they are paupers simply on the ground of 
destitution, they may recover themselves out of that 
state if property falls to them, or they may be taken out 
of it by individuals assuming their support. If, how- 
ever, they have no property — and as 2Mi(j)e7's they can 
not hold property — and no friends arise to keep them, 
they remain on the hands of the town. Though inde- 
pendently rich to-day; if to-morrow poor, they are cast 
into the poor-house and disfranchised — in effect, dis- 
franchised. 

A majority of the people of Crampton thought the 
poor were well enough cared for. They viewed them 
as the off-shoots of society — as worn-out, intemperate, 
profane, blasted old hags and stragglers — suffering no 
one undeserved disability, social, civil, religious, or 
moral, and were really unaffected by the story of their 
sufferings and neglect. Such reports, if any reached 
them, they invariably attributed to fanaticism, or charged 
them to weak and credulous persons, who were never 

* Appendix B. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 235 

wanting in a community of even sensible men and 
women ! 

It was self-evident to another class, that the paupers 
never could be elevated. This was the strong argu- 
ment of the Smiths, the Newcombes, the Shires. They 
said, with Squire Ben Stout, that they had got through 
with their usefulness, and hopes, and pleasures, as well 
as their sensitiveness to neglect and ill-fortune. Of 
course such a statement of the case, if defended, i. e., if 
capable of being maintained, would go far towards 
pacifying the voice of conscience, and fatally hinder all 
appeals to the benevolent. 

They argued this from observation and nature. 

This was so regarded, they said, by sensible people 
in all the States of the North. Every town acted on some 
such principle — and the facts in their own community, 
in the course of any ten years, went absolutely to show 
this. 

So was it they argued in nature. Things would wear 
out. Brute creatures grow feeble, and sicken and die. 
Farms would run out, and the best of lands become 
worthless. Beautiful trees would wax old and die. 
Ships on the ocean rot and moulder away. Elegant 
houses and princely castles perish. " Even the rocks," 
said they, " decompose in the atmosphere and crumble 
to powder. The heavens and the earth themselves, the 
Scriptures assert, will wax c Id as doth a garment, and 
pass away !" 

Having established the proposition, it was then easy 
to see the Christian charity or benevolence of the poor- 
house regulations. In fact, two-thirds of the people of 
Crampton regarded it as a fixed truth, that the paupers 
of that town were under heaven-high obligations to them 
for paying the expenses of their pauper condition. It 



236 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

is so yet in many a good New England town — alas! 
ttiat we must say it. 

One good fact in the case sweeps away this cobweb 
argument, and one such even Crampton had — viz., in 
the case of poor Alanson Boyce. He was one of those 
inestimably indebted paupers that this argument would 
cover. But under the treatment of the poor-house he 
was at the point of death, half crazed and suffering. It 
was when the kind hand of true mercy was stretched 
out towards him, that he revived and sat up, clothed 
and in his right mind. 

We shall yet see another instance, and may learn 
from it the feebleness and injustice of those views which 
men often bring forward to cover up their hypocrisy 
and selfishness, calling evil good, and good evil. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 237 



CHAPTER XXII. 

Has Mr. Warren lost that box ? He may fancy so. He may even search in 
Tain for it. He may give the case into the hands of the Police, who are sure to 
find stolen property. But after all, is the box lost ? 

Old Mr. Warren has outlived his wife some years, 
and a nephew of the aged man, with his wife, lives in 
the house and takes care of him. His property will fall 
to them on his demise. He is very old, very feeble, and 
cannot long hold body and soul together. The young 
may, the aged must die ! But old Mr. Warren is a good 
man, and has long been preparing himself for the hour 
of his departure. It will not come on him with the sur- 
prise it does on many, though as in the case of all living 
men he trembles as he thinks how certain is that hour 
to arrive ! 

But there is one cause of anxiety on his mind, that as 
yet he has not revealed to any one ! It frequently dis- 
turbs his quiet days and nights, and he sits now in a 
brown study over it, and anon walks the room and looks 
from the window. He is evidently recalling some past 
event of life, but is unwilling to communicate his reflec- 
tions to those who are around him. 

George Herring and his wife Eliza, are plain, simple 
folks, and while they notice the old man's disturbed 
feeling, they have no philosophy to account for it, only 
Mrs. Herring takes to grieving herself in the firm be- 
lief that she does not cook his food to his liking, nor 
furnish him with any degree of attention he needs for 
his comfort. Sbe. even goes alone into her room and 



238 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

weeps over it, and studies how she may do better, and 
give the old man some relief from his disquietude. She 
and George both study over the matter, but George 
thinks Eliza has not failed in her duty, and that the old 
gentleman is displeased or pained at his management of 
the farm. So they both counsel each other, and resolve 
to leave undone nothing which will tend to old Mr. 
Warren's happiness. 

Mr. Warren is annoyed at one circumstance. He has 
two or three times noticed Polly Tucker stealing round 
the house, and even detected her in peering into his 
room through the window, when she thought him out 
of it. Her wicked face, her gleaming eyes troubled him. 
What can she want ? Both John and Polly now often 
come to the house and sit down ; and they talk, and they 
offer to do little chores, and they are free to get round 
the house ; and especially helpful to the old gentleman, 
offering him any assistance by night or day. What can 
they want ? What are they after ? 

One day not long before, in an unguarded moment, 
Mr. Warren, like an old man in his dotage, informed the 
Tuckers that he had in his possession, in a silver to- 
bacco-box, some important documents that Jims' oivn 
mother left for him before the boy became an orphan. 

He had hardly made the admission before he repented 
it, for they both were highly excited, and said they 
should like to see the box ; and they likewise declared 
that there must never any thing come to light that 
" Annie Sue" was not the boy's own mother. " Now 
mind that," said both John and Polly, " if you ever say 
any thing about it we'll burn your house down and you 
in it !" 

The old man found himself, therefore, in a bad posi- 
tion, and this it was that troubled him. He still retained 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 239 

the box and its contents, and the secret. He longed to 
surrender them all to a proper person^ but rather hesi- 
tated to make them over to George and Eliza, or to say 
any thing about the legitimacy of the boy on account of 
the threatening of the reputed grandparents. He kept 
the box in his upper bureau drawer, near the foot of his 
bed, and it was carefully kept among some relics of small 
value that were once the property of his wife. 

" What time, Miss Herring, does the old gentleman 
get his nap now-a-days?" inquired Polly one morning, 
as she happened in and lounged down in a kitchen chair 
by the fire. 

" Oh, well, he gets his best nap between eleven and 
twelve. To be sure he sleeps in the afternoon, but not 
so regularly, you know ; he always lies down, you know, 
at eleven, and he enjoys it, you know, mightily — and it 
rests him, too, more than any nap he has in the whole 
twenty-four I do verily believe." 

" Possible !" exclaimed Polly. 

" Yes ; he says so himself, and that he couldn't get 
through the day without it. Old men, you know, are 
feeble bodied, and they seem to needs more sleep than 
most folks — don't you think they do, Polly ?" 

Polly said " Yes," but she evidently was thinking of 
something else. " I told John," said she, " I'd come over 
and help you this forenoon about your chores ; you look 
so pale and sickly these days I feel almost concerned for 
3'^ou — so," said she, laying off her old hood, " you maj 
put me to doing your work, if you will." 

" Well, Polly, I don't feel very smart now-a-days, and 
it's clever in you to make the offer. It's considerable to 
make the fires in the old gentleman's room, and then run 
up stairs and down stairs so many times, you know, as 
one must, and by night I do get terribly tired out and 
lame." 



240 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" Now just let me, Miss Heri-ing, do a deal for you to- 
day. I'll even make the old gentleman's fires for liim 
when he's asleep, and brush up the things, and you shall 
git a little rest." 

A guarded, stealthy step ! It is half-past eleven. The 
fire is made afresh in the old gentleman's room while he 
sleeps — a step as if taken by a cat towards the bureau 
in the room — the old man sleeps, and breathes gently ; 
but any noise will arouse him. Another step, and a 
form crouches down to the very floor at the foot of the 
bed. A hand is laid on the knob of the lower drawer. 
With the least possible noise it is opened and searched, 
and half-breathlessly are those above it searched — even 
the upper drawer is now opened. With eyes distended 
and glaring the search goes on, and with hands that 
tremble, the lid of a small trunk in the drawer is raised. 
An exulting chuckle, scarcely as loud as a whisper, 
breaks o^en the lips of the guilty one, and a savage 
smile passes over her features as she plucks the silver 
box from its long safe depository, and conveys it to her 
bosom ! More agitated than before, she closes up the 
bureau drawer, and the little noise so nearly awakens 
the sleeper that she crouches to the floor at the foot of 
the bed and scarcely breathes. Full five minutes she 
hugs the floor, till the long breathings of the old man re- 
assure her, and she creeps up towards the door to escape. 
It opens with slight creaking, and she steps through into 
the kitchen, closing it carefully after her. And the old 
man sleeps on — and rests him well in undisturbed repose ! 

" Now, Miss Liza," said Polly, " I must run up home 
to see old John afore he gets off, and when you want me 
to help you I'll come again." 

" I shall be very glad of your help when you are about 
here and feel like it," said Eliza. "You know it is a 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 241 

great care that of old Mr. Warren, and you have helped 
me so much ; dear me, I feel like another creature. I 
thank you, Polly !" cried she, as the latter was making- 
long and hasty strides towards her own cabin. 

" Never mind it," exclaimed Polly, with her face to- 
wards home. 

Exulting over her theft, she held up the purloined 
object to the astonished gaze of John, too drunken to 
fully realize all the importance of her adventure, but 
not totally lost to its meaning. 

"Well done, PoUl by the Lord Harry!" said he— 
"now that young brat may whistle for his mother — won- 
der if he'll find her ? ha i^ha !" 

" I told you I'd have it, live or die !" shouted she. — • 
I'd had it if 'twas necessary by cutting the throat of old 
Warren. Where's the whisky, John ?" 

"Here it is — drink till you can't get down any more. 
You shall have all you want." 

In their drunken spree, which lasted two days, they 
failed totally of finding the spring by which the box 
was opened, and at last Polly cast the box into the 
ashes, exclaiming, " Lie there, good-for-nothing old trin- 
ket !" Subsequently in poking for the treasure among 
the ashes, which fortunately were not hot, she rolled it 
out on the hearth rather violently, and before she could 
seize and hold it in her hand, it fell through the floor by 
one of its numerous apertures, and down under the 
walls of the house, not into the cellar apartment, nor any 
other part accessible but by removing the floor boards 
or the outside walls. And they could neither see nor 
reach it. Both were disconcerted by this, but they said 
it was safe there anyhow, and when they wanted it they 
would tear up the floor. 

After old Mr. Warren had finished his morning sleep, 

11 



242 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

he felt unusually comfortable, and when Eliza called 
him to dinner, he expressed great thankfulness to her 
for all her care and kindness. He made a good dinner 
also, and was in extraordinary spirits. So Eliza was 
very much relieved and put on her best smiles, and 
talked and laughed with him a long, long time. And 
by and bye George came in, and he ate his dinner hap- 
pily and heartily, and took great interest in the old 
man's cheerfulness. And the sun-light of comfort and 
joy once more broke in on the little family circle there 
— alas 1 how little cause for it. Could the old man have 
known what he had lost during that very sleep, what 
treasure had been pilfered from him, a gloom greater 
than ever would have marked his features, and sadness 
of a fearful kind settled on his heart. But he deems all 
safe, and it is therefore well with him. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 243 



CHAPTER XXIII. 
Hag! 

Early in the history of modern -western emigration, 
Mr. and Mrs. McDougal removed from the east and 
located themselves on a farm in "Western New York. 
They subsequently went out into Michigan, and there 
they raised a family of five sons and two daughters. 
The eldest daughter, who was a person of rather sedate 
mien, an intelligent, pious girl, beloved my many for her 
kindness of heart, and respected for her excellent judg- 
ment and good sense, in her twentieth year was married 
to a young clergyman of a neighboring town, and enter- 
ed on the practical duties of a minister's wife among the 
people of his parish. These, in the infant settlements, 
the wide-spread parishes of the West, were numerous 
and self-denying. Both she and her husband lost their 
health in their employment, and were a long time en- 
feebled. Her mother, sister, and two of her brothers 
fell victims to the bilious fevers of the neighborhood, 
and they, at the direction of their friends, and especially 
of their physician, resolved on a journey to New Eng- 
land. Arrived there, they allowed themselves all need- 
ed recreation, and passed several weeks by the sea- 
shore, attending mainly to their health. They also 
went into the mountains and breathed the fresh air of 
those elevated northern regions, and soon perceived 
that they were rapidly recovering strength. In a com- 
paratively short period, the husband began to preach 



244 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

here and there, and passed at one time several months 
in a parish, performing the duties of a minister. And 
by and bye it happened that he received an invitation 
to settle in one of the goodly towns of New England, 
where the finger of Providence pointed him so unmis- 
takably as to a field proper for his efi"orts, that both he 
and his wife agreed for the time to sacrifice the "West, 
and make their abode at the East. 

This clergyman and his wife were Mr. and Mrs. Rod- 
man. They had now been five years at Crampton, and 
had become familiar with the people. But what was 
always a consideration of great interest to Mrs. Rodman, 
it was from this very town of Crampton her own mother 
removed in early life to the West when married to Mr. 
McDougal. Of course she had heard her speak of her 
eastern home, and of friends, many of whom were now 
no more. Mrs. Rodman had found very few relations of 
the family, even of distant connection, alive, although 
there were many persons in town who remembered her 
mother. It was a great pleasure to her to meet with any 
of the older citizens who could speak of her. She re- 
moved forty years before — Mrs. Rodman herself being 
now over thirty years of age. The Phillips and Haddocks 
were themselves too young to remember. Squire Ben 
Stout and his wife recollected her well, as they were now 
sixty years of age. 

Once when they were conversing on this topic. Squire 
Ben told her that if old Mr. Warren, who lived back a 
mile from the village, retained his memory still unim- 
paired, he could give her, as he thought, many state- 
ments of the early life of her mother which would be in- 
teresting. " Moreover," said the Squire, " if I remember 
rightly there was a distant relationship between the 
families by marriage — I think so, somehow or other — I 
have forgotten what, on my word." 



LIFE IX THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 245 

Mrs. Rodman resolved that she would, as soon as con- 
venient, make old Mr. Warren a visit, and so learn from 
him all she could in relation to her mother and the 
family. It happened, therefore, on a pleasant win- 
ter's day, that her husband proposing a sleigh-ride over 
the parish, she consented, and asked that it might be in 
the direction of Mr. Warren's retired house — " for," said 
she, " I have long thought I should like to see him and 
have some conversation about my mother and her family, 
especially the older members of it." 

" Yery well," said her husband, " let us go there," and 
away they drove. 

Passing the bridge just below the large pond where 
Jims had caught his fish sometime previous to this, they 
were surprised to see the boy sitting below the dam, 
where the water fell from beneath the ice into a deep, 
dark hole, and intently watching his hook, with which 
it seemed the trout were sporting in the pool. He had 
on the same slouching hat, the same tattered clothing 
as when they last saw him, but his face and hands were 
washed clean and white, his hair fell long and handsome 
into his neck. 

The clergyman reined up his horse, and cried out to 
him — " What luck to-day, my boy ?" 

At the sound of his voice, Jims turned quickly in the 
direction of it, and blushed slightly when he perceived 
Mr. and Mrs. Rodman looking down from the bridge and 
speaking to him. Withdrawing his line from the water 
and laying it down on the snow, he ran up quickly into 
the road, and with his hat in his hand made them a 
slight nod, saying that the water made such a noise he 
could not understand them. So Mr. Rodman again asked 
him what luck he had found in fishing. " Well, sir," 
said Jims, " it is not a good day — the sun is out. I shall 



246 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

catch them near night, I hope, for poor Mr. Boyce's 
sake." 

" Then you catch fish for him?" said Mrs, Rodman. 

" Oh, yes, ma'am, every few days. He loves them." 

" And you sometimes have a good taste of them your- 
self?" said Mr. Rodman. 

" Not often, sir ; I give them to him. He's a sick 
man." 

" "Well now, Jims, when are you coming up to our 
house ; we want to see you and show you some books, 
and talk with you ; come, won't you, before long ?" in- 
quired Mrs. Rodman. 

" Yes, ma'am, if the Captain says ' yes.' I can't go if 
he refuse, you know. We are his folks. "We ain't our 
own, by any means. I run away to go fishing, but I 
shouldn't like to, to go to your house." 

" Why not ?" 

" Because he would be sure to find you and tell you 
such an awful story about me you'd never want to see 
me, nor I to see you again in the world." 

" Oh, I hope not." 

" I know him," said the boy, " may be he'll let me 
come, if so, I will." 

" Do," said both, " come if you can ; and now, Jims, is 
the road open, do you think, to Mr. Warren's ?" 

" I don't know, sir ; there's sleds and cattle go up 
there, and old John and Polly go through that way — I 
guess you can get along." 

" Well, we must go on, I believe ; be a good boy, 
Jims." 

" Good-bye !" said Mrs. Rodman. 

" Grood-bye, ma'am," said the boy, and then he looked 
after them as they drove on till they were lost to his 
view. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 247 

" There is something in the countenance of that boy," 
said Mrs. Rodman, " that instinctively fills me with inter- 
est. I wish we might know more about him, and be 
able to do him some service." 

" He is, naturally, a very bright boy," said her hus- 
band. " It will be too late to do him any good soon." 

" Well, husband, let us make inquiries about him, and 
see if something can't be done, eh ?" 

" Very good, we will." 

They arrived at Mr. Warren's at length, although the 
road was none of the smoothest for an easy sleigh-ride, 
and were very cordially welcomed. The whole family 
considered it a very great mark of attention, that the 
minister and his wife should visit them when the roads 
were so poorly opened. They built the fires up anew, 
and brushed the hearth afresh, and put the room in good 
order all round. As for old Mr. Warren, he entertained 
his guests with many reminiscences of the parish, its 
former size in square miles, and the actual number of 
the inhabitants ; the different clergymen who had been 
settled over it in sixty years ; the history of many an 
ancient family ; the changes in the state of society, in 
business, wealth, moral character, etc. He then inquired 
of Mr. and Mrs. Rodman about the West, whether, in 
their opinion, the West could not grow too fast for its 
own good, and in the r^ge for speculation and wealth 
agriculture come to be overlooked, to the great detri- 
ment of the inhabitants. 

Mr. Rodman thought not. He said, " The West can- 
not fail to be cultivated, for no speculation in land, or in 
stocks, or staple productions can, in general, pay so rich 
a return as the garden soil of that mighty world ! One 
good, able-bodied farmer, can there take care of and se- 
cure twenty-five or thirty acres of corn ! While it is 



248 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

impossible for one man here to cultivate more than two 
acres, or at most three, along with his other work. And 
the corn there is worth, on the ground, nearly what it is 
here — and the land is much cheaper. I think that the 
farmers of the West know where their true strength 
lies, and that if they speculate in lands and stocks they 
will not neglect to till the soil." 

Mr. "Warren said -that those were sensible views, at 
any rate, and he hoped that, being so, they would be 
sensibly adhered to, and also, that religion and educa- 
tion would take good root in the soil with other things. 
" They are the two great important foundations of soci- 
ety, sir." 

" Undoubtedly they are," replied the pastor. 

" We have a large school fund in this State," said the 
old man. "It pays about one hundred and twenty thou- 
sand dollars a year, to be divided among the children of 
the State. But I think there is a fault somewhere in 
the distribution ; the principle on which it is given out 
is defective." 

'• I fear it may be," said Mr. Rodman. 

" Yes, it is so, I think. We should give to every town 
its proportion, but making it actually incumbent on the 
town to raise at least a dollar for every one the fund 
gives it. This would inspire zeal in the cause, (save 
those little peculations on the State by which some dis- 
tricts take the whole money due them on the scholar 
for the year, and putting it all together, hire teachers 
for as long a time only as it will pay — perhaps three, 
perhaps four or six months,) and insure 2)rogress. That 
is what we most need in our district schools." 

" I confess to a similar opinion," said Mr. Rodman. 
" I do think there is far too little generosity in the sup- 
port of common-school education in this State. We have 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 249 

too much money, unless it is more wisely disbursed. 
We want advancement — ' progress/ as you say, sir — in 
the common schools. Fresh books, higher standards, 
more emulation, better school-houses, the best of teach- 
ers, and terms of proper and consecutive length." 

" Do we not, in all our large towns, need a high school 
as well as a graded grammar school, where Latin, French, 
German, Spanish, and so forth, may be thoroughly 
taught?" inquired Mrs. Rodman. 

" I am of that opinion, ^^ said the old gentleman, " from 
what I hear and read. It seems that the country is fill- 
ing up most rapidly with a foreign population, whose 
language our children at least ought to acquire." 

" One is struck with this at the West," she replied. 

" And in all the cities," said her husband. 

" Yes, and even here," said Mr. Warren, " I frequently 
have a foreigner at my door for work, or offering my 
people goods, or entertaining us with music, of whose 
language I am as ignorant as though he were from the 
South Sea Islands." 

" Yes, indeed !" said the pastor. 

" I have thought," continued Mrs. Rodman, " that un- 
less we introduce these studies fully and freely into our 
high schools, nothing can save us from incurring the 
charge of superficially educating our children." 

" The English language will undoubtedly prevail over 
the world," said her husband; "but it will undergo 
changes, and form new phases in the actual and certain 
mingling of the diff'erent tongues. It will not stand 
alone, either. It will range and rank with others, and 
be the more potent if those who speak it also under- 
stand the various idioms and dialects of other peoples." 

" I see no objection to the study of living languages," 
said Mr. Warren ; " nor do I object to the ancient clas- 



250 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

sics, although I never enjoyed the opportunity of ac- 
quiring them." 

George, who came in during this discussion, ventured 
to say here — 

" I am thinking that too much is said on these things 
now-a-days, and too much relied on education, any way. 
I go for good common-school teaching, such as arithme- 
tic, geography, grammar, writing, and spelling. If you 
have these, with good bible-reading, the boys and girls 
will do pretty well, I guess, without Latin or Greek." 

" But this seems to be a bright, smart age, Mr. Her- 
ring," said the pastor. " Our lads and girls who are in 
the schools seem, at a very early period, to develop un- 
common powers of mind, and to yearn for advanced 
studies before the period when the law shuts them out 
of the schools." 

" Ah ! well, if they get their learning early," said 
George, " they can go to trades and on to farms earlier ; 
that will be a gain, you know, to both masters and 
apprentices." 

" Yes ; but we want they should learn all they can," 
said Mr. Rodman. 

" I don't care for that," he replied. " Give them plain 
English while they do learn, and good common sense, 
and the sooner they get it the better." 

" But, then, consider how many foreigners there are 
here, and what wonderful facilities we enjoy for visiting 
other lands, and for trading with different nations — 
would it not be well to understand their language ?" 

" No ; no great need of it, for you can always make 
use of signs to understand foreigners. And if you can't 
talk with them any way, they won't have so much temp- 
tation to come over here. I don't like foreigners myself. 
And as for trading with them, it's just taking the bread 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 251 

and meat out of the mouths of the poor people here to 
put the value in silks and gewgaws on the backs of the 
rich, or to support the tyrannical governments of the 
old countries. All the gold of California isn't enough 
to pay these foreign silk bills, besides our produce. 
Now, for my part, I wish half the big stores in New 
York were shut, and half the vessels on the Atlantic 
were rotting at the wharves. What are they doing, all 
of them ? What ! Why, they are as busy as ten thou- 
sand hives of bees all the time, running us into debt, 
and ruining the country. Now, the smarter the boys 
and girls become — ■' learned,' as you call it — the more 
they'll do these very things ; and I say I don't like too 
much schooling." 

The company found George a go-ahead " Young 
American" of the old school. And as he hung tight to 
his peculiar opinions, the conversation passed on to 
other and to some personal matters. For instance, as 
Eliza smilingly prepared tea for her visitors, old Mr. 
Warren remarked — 

" I must have known your mother, Mrs. Rodman. She 
was married to Mr. McDougal when she was young — I 
think about seventeen or eighteen years old — and soon 
after left us for the West, as New York and Eastern 
Ohio were then called. I remember her well by her 
family name." 

" Do you, indeed, sir ? I am rejoiced to hear it. I 
presume you can tell me many things about her early 
life ? I should be most happy to hear any thing you 
can recollect of her, believe me." 

" Well, it is forty years si.ice she went from here. If 
living, she would now be nearly, or quite, sixty years of 
age. She has somewhat dimmed on my recollection ] 
but let me say that I remember her as a romantic, fear- 



252 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

less girl, rather fond of adventure, and good at contriv 
ing plays and amusements." 

" Well, she always icas, to her very dying day, Mr. War 
ren," said the pleased and excited Mrs. Rodman. 

" True, very true !" reechoed her husband. 

" Ah ! I remember hearing her say she was going out 
to get acquainted with the Western Indians, for she liked 
the Indian character, and wasn't a bit afraid of them." 

" Just like her, for all the world ! Was it not, hus- 
band?" 

" Precisely." 

*' Then she said she would give more to see the great 
lakes, and sail across them, than two Atlantic Oceans." 

" And then, husband, you know what a passion she 
always had for a sail in a schooner ; and later, for a 
steamboat excursion on the lakes, Mr. Rodman ?" 

" I know it well," said he. 

" She also said — I well remember it," said the old 
man — " ' if a person had any disposition to do good, the 
West was the place for it then, and would be for a thou- 
sand years to come.'" 

" Dear soul I" exclaimed Mrs. Rodman — " she always 
had a Bible and a Testament, or other good book, large 
or small, to give to eveiy one whom she thought 
needed it." 

" And would frequently teach the children in the 
neighborhood to read," said Mr, Rodman. 

'• She was neat and tidy too in her dress and appear- 
ance," said the old gentleman, " very careful of trinkets 
and mementoes ; an early riser, brisk and cheerful 
walker, and a great reader." 

" Was she, indeed ! Even when so young ?" 

" Yes, even then, and I remember she studied Latin, 
and recited it to our minister before she was thirteen. 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 253 

And I should like to know if she retained her knowledge 
of it ?" he inquired. 

" To some extent," said Mrs. Rodman, " but not enough 
to be of much help to her children, whom, however, she 
had invariably attend to it. My mother, sir, neither 
wore out, lost, nor seemed to neglect any thing. If she 
had a ribbon on her hat that was not immediately want- 
ed for further use, it was ' done up' carefully and put 
away in her box of ' collars,' ' wrist-bands,' ' muslins,' 
* beads,' 'rings,' 'patterns,' and 'gloves.' She had boxes 
of trinkets all arranged with care, mementoes of her 
own early life, and of all the children. She always kept 
things in the most perfect system. She could in a mo- 
ment find anything she wanted that was in the house. 
And she was neither parsimonious nor selfish, but was 
liberal, and always bestowing on others such things as 
they seemed to need. But there are always some things, 
you know, sir, that do not seem to get out of the house 
any way — and these she kept in perfect order, making 
every thing do double the work that we, many of us, 
seem capable of doing." 

" You are a pretty good type though," said her hus- 
band. 

" Thank you, husband. For example, my mother, sir, 
kept her striped silk wedding-dress more than thirty 
years, and I remember she would often bring it forward, 
and put it into some new form, and wear it about, look- 
ing in it as sweet and dear as you ever saw her, I dare 
say, in her best and loveliest youth." 

" Yery likely," said the old gentleman, highly grati- 
fied. 

" Then she kept her wedding-shoes, and would fre- 
quently put in here and there a new stitch in the bind- 
ing, and mend and wear them a few days, when she 



254 N'EW England's chattels ; or, 

would replace them carefully among the * relics' to wear 
again some other day." 

" She was one of the right sort of pioneer women. I 
doubt not," said Mr. Warren. 

" And the family are now all gone from these parts ?" 
said she. 

" Yes." 

" No near relatives in any of the towns about, are 
there ?" 

" None that I can now remember." 

" There were no uncles and aunts ?" 

" There was one — an uncle ; but he and his wife died 
early, or in ten or twelve years after." 

" Yes, I have heard my mother speak of them — and 
their children — had they any, Mr. Warren ?" 

The old gentleman seemed to waver on the point of 
memory here for a moment, and to look rather confused. 

" Do not try to recollect, sir, if it is any trouble to 
you. Now, pray do not, sir — we have consumed a long 
time. Your tea, Mrs. Herring, has made us very talk- 
ative." 

Eliza was glad if the tea was " agreeable." 

" It is very, indeed," said Mrs. Rodman. 

" Your uncle did leave one child, Mrs. Rodman — and 
she married young, and was unfortunate." 

" Unfortunate ?" 

" Yes ; her husband was gay and wild, and dissipated, 
and at last, having been cast off by his father, who re- 
moved away, he left her and died afar off. She lost her 
children, her property, her home, her health and life. 
She came here in her last sickness — and here she died !" 

" Is it so, indeed ; why, what an interest you have 
awakened in my mind about her and the family !" 

" I am myself," said he, " a distant relation of the 
family, a great uncle on b^r rnother's side !" 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 255 

" Well, now, Mr. Warren, that is the most surprising 
of all." 

" It is really quite a genealogical fact, Mrs. Rodman," 
said her husband. 

" Truly so," said she. 

The tea-sitting now broke up. Mr. Warren seemed 
weary. The fact was, he had exerted himself more than 
he usually did, but he had reached a point beyond which 
he felt that he could not safely go in his communications. 
He compelled himself, therefore, to silence on the mat- 
ters of family history, and passed to other subjects while 
his visitors remained. 

Before dark they were on their return. 

Ere he slept that night the old man carefully opened 
the drawer of his bureau and took out the small, covered 
trunk and opened it, and looked among its various relics 
and curious things for the secret-box, the keeping of 
which began to trouble him. In vain he took away this 
and that object. It could not be seen ! He will find it 
in another corner, under the shells. It is not there ! 
He has overlooked it — but he fails to discern it even 
now 1 Surely it is there, and he again removes and dis- 
places every one of the choice articles contained there ; 
but he finds it not ! It may have been carelessly left 
oui in the drawer, or put elsewhere in the bureau. And 
he goes carefully on, and on, and on with the search — 
and the hour grows late for him, the old man, to burn his 
candlC' — so thought George, and so Eliza, as they saw its 
light beneath the door — and then they wondered what 
light work he pursued so long and steadily, for they 
heard the moving now and then of objects he displaced, 
and of drawers moved to and fro in his search. And 
then there was a long silence, yet the light burned on. 

" I will go to him, I think," said George. 

" Do go," said Eliza. 



256 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

And George tapped at his door — " Grandfather, are 
you abed and comfortable, eh ?" 

No answer, and then another gentle tap and question, 
but still all was silent. George opens the door a little 
<way, and there stands the old man, wildly and painfully 
staring into the little trunk, out of which he has removed 
every one of its precious things, that he may be sure he 
has not made in his search an oversight. 

" Grandfather !" exclaimed George. 

" Why, grandfather," says Eliza, " what is to pay I" 

The old man slowly and solemnly turned towards 
them and exclaimed — " The silver box ! — It is gone !" 
and sunk into their arms. They laid him on his bed, 
and long it seemed to them that he would faint away 
and die. With camphor they revived him, and he sat 
up, leaning on the shoulder of George. Presently he 
was calmer, and he began to tell them distinctly what 
he had lost, when all at once he started from the bed, 
his hand pointing to the wdndow, towards which his 
flashing eye was fixed, and exclaimed in a sharp, quick, 
angry voice, " Hag !" 

George and Eliza, turning quickly to look in the direc- 
tion, saw distinctly the vanishing face of the gipsie Poll, 
who had been gloating her ugly soul in the old man's 
anguish as she gazed on him from without. 

" To the devil ivith you /" shouted George at her, as he 
quickly lifted the window, and saw her leap over the 
wall and vanish from sight and pursuit. " Infernal 
witch ! What do you hang round here for ?" But she 
was gone, the exultation of a fiend marking her counte- 
nance. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 257 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

What happened to the Cabin. Remarks upon Cabins are useless, for they fulfil 
their day, never behind, never ahead of it. They are a standing Prophecy of 
Shelter and Refuge to Society. They show us, that if we cannot live in a Palace, 
we can in a Hut. Ho, the Cabin ! 

A week's carnival of drunkenness at Tuckers'. Noisy, 
boisterous company of wicked, lewd, and desperate crea- 
tures. Then there came a quiet of a few days, for the 
occupants were exhausted, their whisky gone, their food 
diminished, and they scattered themselves abroad for 
more. 

This house of Tuckers' had often been complained of 
at town-meetings, and before the selectmen of the town, 
as a nuisance. The difficulty of keeping John and Polly 
long at the poor-house, and the necessity that they should 
have a place at intervals where they could retreat, in- 
duced the authorities to spare it. But the proprietors 
of real estate around it grew more and more resolved to 
have the house abated as a nuisance, or to pull it down, 
if by that means or any other they could force the old 
couple away. " We are losing," said they, " all our 
fences, all our wood, all our fruit in the orchards around, 
all the nuts on the trees, all the wild grapes, and so forth ; 
and besides this, there is the general disgrace of such a 
house resting on the town." It was not long before a 
band of men was formed determined to raze the house 
to its foundation. 

Its occupants were gone when one stormy, dark, and 



258 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

gusty night, form after form passed silently along in the 
same beaten track, b}'' a given point near the house of 
old Mr. Warren. All the inmates of that house had Ions 
before retired to rest. The house was dark, no light 
from any window gleaming forth into the darkness, and 
so the men passed by. There was one ear, however, 
awake. Eliza roused herself to hear what she fancied 
was an uncommon moaning in the winds, or the tread as 
that of elves o'er the roof well covered with the winter's 
snows. 

It has been often remarked that in lonesome situa- 
tions, sounds of passing footsteps are more plainly no- 
ticed by any who may dwell there, even though the 
tread may be light, and the noise much slighter than 
would awaken attention in more densely occupied quar- 
ters. And Ave think this is so. We think on this account 
it was that Eliza herself heard what no other living ear 
in that house that night did hear — the tramp, tramp, 
tramp of passing men — for she crept silently to the win- 
dow casement, turned aside the corner of the curtain, 
and, in robe de nuit, gazed out into the dark midnight 
to note the passing, unwonted sounds. And if she saw 
aught she moved not, nor uttered any sound of alarm, 
even awakening no one that dreamed on and slept a 
faithful, honest sleep under her roof. * * -s^- 

Was it that George himself had left the house that 
night, and in his movements disturbed her own slumbers, 
and was she peering forth into the darkness in quest of 
his form ? 

Silently the work goes on. It sways this way and 
that. Stout men, with their might, have hold with 
hooks and ropes of the main part of this desolate old 
home of sin and shame, the Tuckers' house. Now rises 
the wind, and it lifts hard with the strong men to over- 



LIFE IN THE NOETHEEN POOE-HOUSE. 259 

throw the hateful dark object crouching beneath tlie 
trees and the forest for protection, where the orgies of 
drunkenness have long had their most famous abode. 
The winds moan through the forests, and the gloom 
deepens as the work goes on. Dark nights become our 
deeds of lawlessness — when we lift our hands against 
another's right, how humble soever that may be. Si- 
lence, too, and labored breathings, told it as the work of 
violence done another, though perchance a foe or vil- 
lain. But these were brave hearts and determined 
ones. They knew not a surer way, nor a better, than 
the one devised to "spot" a plague among them that 
had long been to many an intolerable nuisance. And 
at last, as they pull and weigh themselves against the 
posts and braces of the house, and the winds pour their 
full strength against the resisting walls, the heavy 
structure yields ; these working men feel it yielding ; 
they have it at an angle ; it breaks, it sways here and 
crumbles there, and it falls and crashes, and breaks into 
a hopeless, disordered mass of ruins ! 

When the morning curtains were drawn up from the 
darkened rooms of night, and the sun arose, nothing of 
the former order of Tucker's house remained. The 
chimney had not fallen — the west wall was standing — 
the roof over that part of the building had crushed in 
and rested, one side, on the upper edge of this wall, the 
other side of it on the floor — and beneath this lay a 
mass of straw — and near it the fire-place, undisturbed. 
All else was changed. The house lay in ruins, broken 
up by the violence of its overthrow. And well was it, 
if the winds blew it down, (?) this structure, that no 
one had slept there when it fell ! 

And certain it is, no one ever lived to know, who did 
not at the first know, much, if any thing positive, about 



260 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

this extraordinary overthrow. Even Eliza knew no 
more. She slept that night so soundly that she heard 
no noise ; she saw no one. Her husband was asleep 
beside her when she awoke ! No one seemed ever to 
have dreamed of any such event. Nobody could tell 
what somebody had to do with it. Everybody spoke of 
it as a thing done, but nobody appeared as a witness. 
Some persons thought to be very innocent (!) complained 
loudly that it was an outrage ; but the outrage had no 
clients. The universal sentiment was, that if the family 
had been present when the building fell they must have 
been crushed ; and the public relief at their escape went 
far to assuage the public grief at their loss I 

In a day or two the winds and snows had filled up all 
the footsteps and paths around the premises, and as 
white as new fallen snow could make look a deed of 
darkness, so white and innocent looked this. 

Returning in the twilight of the third day from their 
long forage abroad, and Mag Davis with them, John and 
Polly Tucker stood aghast over the ruins of the house. 
It made them almost sober to contemplate the sad con- 
dition in which those ruins now left them. They no 
longer had a home retreat, no house which they might 
call their own, no good shelter nearer than the poor- 
house where they might betake themselves and feel 
secure from storms of wind, and snow, and rain. 

They were first sad, then as they regarded it the 
work of human hands, they gave way to anger — to vio- 
lent, profane wrath. No, we cannot write the words 
they uttered, the wicked oaths they muttered, the re- 
venge they promised. 

Feeling carefully around the ruins, they discovered 
the shelving protection of the roof as it leaned up 
against the wall, and one after another they crept in and 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 261 

rolled themselves up in the old untouched garments 
they had left there and in the vicious straw. Their 
well-filled whisky jug they took in with them. Full and 
heavy draughts from this relieved their half-sobered 
senses, and sent over them quickly the benumbing touch 
of a heavy and prolonged inebriacy. The three lay 
coiled together long after the sun arose in the morning, 
and no one of them left the rude shelter during the 
whole day. 

At evening, Mag Davis made her way back to the 
poor-house, and John and Polly kindled a fire on the 
hearth, easily finding fuel in the ruins of their splinter- 
ed dwelling. John soon fell asleep again from renewed 
potations of whisky, concealed in a smaller flask fi'om 
Mag, (or she had not left them,) and Polly sat on the 
straw watching the fire and feeding it, as she quietly at 
the same time took from the loosening grasp of her hus- 
band the half emptied flask, and drank her mairied 
half ! "Was not she his wife ? 



262 NEW England's chattels ; or, 



CHAPTER XXV. 

Polly in the Ruins. 

The next day was the Sabbath. No one passed by 
the ruined house that day. And Monday came, but no 
one was astir there, and Tuesday morning, fresh and 
calm and beautiful, a mild, warm, melting day of early 
March arrived. 

Mrs. Phillips wondered that Polly had not come, as 
she had promised ten days before, to help about her 
washing on Monday. The Phillips lived not half a mile 
from the Tuckers, on another and handsomer road, where 
there were large and fine dwellings and farms. They 
often crossed the fields to Tuckers if any thing was 
wanted, and on Tuesday morning, as Polly did not make 
her appearance, Mrs. Phillips §ent over their hired man 
to bring her. 

The faithful fellow stopped in perfect astonishment 
as he came up near the house to see the plight of things, 
and would have turned about without more ado, sup- 
posing, of course, no one was there, had he not, on com- 
ing a little nearer, heard something like a groan and a 
curse arising out of the ruins. Half afraid, he approach- 
ed quite to the broken walls of the house, and called 
lustily — 

" Halloa there ! John — an' is it you, sure ?" 

" No, you , it's me and Pol. What the you 

want to groan so for, Pol — can't you bear it, hey ?" 

" No, I can't, John Tucker — call him in, that's Miss 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 263 

Phillips' man," and Polly Tucker groaned heavily, so 
that Peter, who stood outside, heard her plainly and 
knew that there was trouble. At first he thought John 
had been beating, and had half killed her. 

" Halloa there, Pete ! Is it you ?" said Tucker. 

" An' sure it is, John Tucker. What'll ye be after 
having of me ?" 

" Come here, Pete I There, do you see. "We're in a 
pig's house here, ha ! ha ! But Poll's got firedly scorch- 
ed, and can't help herself, she says. How is 't, old wo- 
man, hey ?" 

" Pete, do you go home and tell Miss Phillips I'm half 
burnt up ! Go, for the Lord's sake. Go." 

" Don't be in a hurry about it," cried old Tucker, as 
he saw Peter start back from the entrance and hasten 
away. 

It is well that there are kind, truly benevolent hearts 
in this bad, this foul, this drunken world ! That there 
are those to whom the wicked even flee in their times 
of wretchedness and misery, and on them call in earnest 
voices for relief. 

Scarcely an hour has passed away, and a tender, deli- 
cate woman and one of her neighbors, accompanied to 
the ruins by their husbands, have crept in on their 
hands and knees, to find this groaning, blackened, suf- 
fering fellow-creature. The brutal husband, grown more 
sober, passes out into the light of day. But he can an- 
swer no questions, he knows nothing of what has hap- 
pened save that " Poll is half burnt to death." 

Mrs. Phillips and Mrs. Wilson, her neighbor, discover- 
ed as soon as they entered this loathsome covert, that 
Polly had been very badly burned about the arms, and 
chest and face. Her face was blackened by it to her 



264 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

forehead ; her eye-brows burned off, her eyes were badly 
inflamed and swollen, and by the long neglect, for she 
was burnt that Saturday evening, when we left her by 
the fire she had kindled, the skin was peeling off and 
dripping from her arms and breast. She was in real 
agony, and besought them, if it lay in their power, to 
apply something that would allay the burning and pain- 
ful sensation, that seemed ready to consume her every 
moment 1 

The ladies removed her soiled and half-consumed gar- 
ments, but the crisp and blackened skin followed them. 
They applied oil, and cotton, and flour to the surface, 
binding up carefully the deepest wounds, and then put 
on her new and clean garments throughout. As it was 
impossible to remove her, they ordered over a soft 
feather bed ; they scraped out and brushed away all 
the old filth and straw, and made her as comfortable as 
the circumstances of the case allowed. 

" TeU us, PoUy, if you can," said Mrs. Phillips, " tell 
us all about it. How did it happen ?" 

" Oh — don't ask — me — I hardly remember, Miss Phil- 
lips. "We came here and had a drinking time with our 
whisky — and I built a rousing fire — and — I recollect 
that John was swearing at me for taking his flask away 
— when I saw some of the straw a-fire — and soon my 
dress. So I called to him — and he — really — he couldn't 
get up. (Oh! what a dreadful feeling burns is!) He 
cried out, ' D — the fire ! who cares ?' " 

" Oh, dear !" exclaimed the ladies. " How dreadful it 
is, Polly ! It is a shame — a disgrace — a dreadful shame 
to you to live so ; and it is a wicked, outrageous sin 
against God !" 

" Well, (oh, dear me !) I found he couldn't help me — 
so — I rolled over on the flames, and with the old rag of 



LIFE IN THE NOETHEEN POOE-HOUSE. , 265 

a blanket, and a bit of carpet that were here, I succeeded 
in putting it out before it burnt us botli to a crisp." 

" Thank God you succeeded !" said they. 

" Yes, indeed !" reiterated Mrs. Wilson. 

" And thank also the villains who tore down the house 
over us and caused it !" said Polly, bitterly. 

" Polly ! Polly Tucker !" said Mrs. Phillips, solemnly. 
" You know better than to speak so, or to indulge those 
revengeful feelings. You know that you have lived 
here in a most unbecoming and sinful manner, against 
the wishes and entreaties of all the people, even of your 
own children — and in opposition, I fully believe, to your 
own conscience — and the people have borne it long, yes, 
very long ; and I have been afraid you would finally 
suffer for it. Now, as you find you are suffering, rather 
accuse yourself than the people. Put the blame on 
your own determined and desperate career of intemper- 
ance and sin. Be thankful, Polly, that you are not now 
this moment in eternity — a fearful eternity, too, I fear, 
to you, had it been entered on from such a drunken 
brawl as you have just described to us." 

Polly covered her face and wept. She was now per- 
fectly sober ; and what, with the pain of her burns and 
the convictions of her conscience, 'she was sadly broken 
up, and felt her woeful and humbled condition. 

But we are not going to chronicle Polly Tucker as a 
converted saint because she wept. Polly had wept be- 
fore. This, it is true, proved nothing against her pre- 
sent tears. But she did not profess to repent now. 
She only felt the truth smarting for a time on her con- 
Bcience, and with mingled sense of shame and helpless- 
ness, tears were her natural relief. Her friends wept 
with her, and they besought her to repent earnestly and 

12 



260 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

forever, and to cast herself on the mercy of Jesus now, 
while she felt her own need of assistance. 

But Polly said, as many a one before her has said, — 
" There is time enough yet to repent. When I am 
about to die and leave the world, I mean to !" 

With perfect astonishment, the two ladies listened to 
this argument of the self-deceived victim of sin. " Time 
enough yet !" the destroying belief of thousands, though 
on the very brink of woe ! How terribly this argument 
for further dilatoriness, and continuance in the ways of 
sin, addressed itself to the attention of her friends, mourn- 
ing over the poor burned creature, bitterly moaning in 
her agony, and hardly removed herself the turning of a 
hand from death in the most awful shape ! Ah 1 is there 
then " time enough yet ?" 

"But,"^said Polly, "Miss Phillips and Miss Wilson, 
dreadful as you may deem it to lie here, yet here let me 
lie rather than in that awful, loathsome, hateful poor- 
house ! It is chock full and running over with vermin. 
They've got the scurvy there ; they're cold, and starved, 
and forsaken. I had rather lie and suffer here, and die 
here, than go there." 

Both the ladies sighed over the truth of this descrip- 
tion. It fell within their belief, if not actual knowledge, 
that the poor-houses of New England were any thing but 
cleanly and well-ordered refuges for the fallen and guilty 
ones who sought there shelter and relief. Here was a 
new argument for a reform in the system of pauperage 
support, as the same was practiced among them ! Was 
it indeed true, that a hovel such as this was preferable 
to the poor-house ! Were all the associations of that es- 
tablishment necessarily not only mortifying, but abso- 
lutely hateful and revolting ? It would seem to be so. 
The feeling in opposition to the life led there seemed 



LIFE IN THE NOETHEEN POOE-HOUSE. 267 

deep in the soul, as though it were one of the instincts 
of the human nature. They long remembered the im- 
pressions which that scene left on their hearts. 

There was no other way but to leave her there that 
night. It was impossible to move her, nor was it the 
next day, nor the following — she was badly burned. 

Captain Bunce was notified by the selectmen of the 
state of things at Tuckers, and directed to take them as 
soon as possible into his immediate care. Protesting 
that they would not go ; that they had rather die ; that 
they would never live there, they were on Saturday re- 
moved to the poor-house — again Mag, and Dan, and Jims, 
and Bill, and the widows all were fellow inmates of that 
institution. 

After they were removed, the whole structure (chim- 
ney and every other part) was leveled with the ground. 
Mr. Phillips, in tearing up the floor, discovered a bright 
looking trinket among the rubbish, and getting down to 
it found a silver tobacco — snuff-box — and on the lid was 
engraved the name of " James Sherman !" Without ex- 
amining, he carried it home and presented the curious 
object to his wife. She opened the box directly. Dis- 
covering the paper folded in it, she carefully withdrew, 
unfolded, and read what was written on it with a lady's 
pen. Astonishment held her mute for a few moments. 
She then spread the document before her husband. 
Twice carefully did Mr. Phillips read over the paper. 
Then folding, he replaced it in the box, and gave it to 
his wife, saying, " Guard it, my dear, as carefully as life 
itself; it is of inestimable value to the persons con- 
cerned." 



268 NEW England's chattels; or, 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

What's to be done 7 

The events of tlie last few days caused a very great 
excitement in the towm. There was scarcely a family, 
or an individual, who did not hear and speak of them 
over and over again, as often as any chanced to meet. 
This continued for several days. Directly and indirectly 
the poor-house affairs came in for a large share of the 
talk ; and the selectmen were much blamed for allowing 
the Tuckers to roam about as they did, and for not in- 
sisting on more attention to the poor generally. Indeed, 
you would think, during the period of eight or nine days, 
that the whole town of Crampton was going to cast all 
its sins on the shoulders of the selectmen, and begin im- 
mediately a new and a better life. 

So are the first impressions, when one peruses a well- 
written novel, a mere fiction of the imagination, designed 
to picture forth some human suffering to move the sym- 
pathies of the reader. But though the public feeling of 
Crampton soon subsided to its customary level, the 
minds of individuals were more than ever aroused and 
resolved. 

" Well, now, Mrs. Stout," said Squire Ben, " this is a 
very unfortunate and — dreadful kir d of business — isn't 
it?" 

" So it is, and I have just this minute said the same 
thing to sister Emeline. It is really quite a melancholy 
and disgraceful affair." 



LIFE IN THE NOETHEEN POOE-HOUSE. . 269 

" Something ought to be done — that's certain — there 
ought to be done — something, — ought there not some- 
thing to be done — Mrs. Stout ?" inquired the Squire. 

" So Emeline was telling me and Mrs. Shire, who 
dropped in yesterday evening. Said Emeline, ' One 
thing is true, something ought to be done.' And Mrs. 
Shire and I both exclaimed, ' there ought certainly some- 
thing to be done !' " 

" Question is — precisely, loliat ?" said the Squire, look- 
ing between his legs, that were a little yawning and re- 
laxed from the thighs to the feet, where the limbs again 
came together. The Squire was leaning his left elbow 
on his knee, and with his left hand was gently rubbing 
his eyebrows. His right hand grasped the top of an- 
other chair, and thus supported right and left, he was 
evidently studying out the path of duty. 

" Precisely what/' often gives men some perplexity. 
Squire Ben was relieved of one part of his quandary by 
the coming in of his confederate, Mr. Jonas Savage. 

" Bad business this," said that gentleman. 

" Terrible ! terrible !" replied the Squire. " I was 
just saying so to Mrs. Stout." 

" Well, I met her myself outside, and said the same 
thing," replied the second selectman. 

" I believe it is the — very — general impression, Mr. 
Savage." 

" Oh, it's as bad as murder, just about," said the other, 
" and so I told Haddock." 

" Ah ! and what said brother Haddock ?" 

" Oh ! Haddock said it was all * off the same piece,' 
and that it was the natural result of bad management." 

" Ah ! ha ! And — what now — neighbor Savage, is 
your real honest opinion about it — yourself — yes, eh ?" 

" To be up and down about it," said Savage," I think 



270 * ifEw England's chattels ; or, 

the selectmen could be indicted by the Grand Jury for 
mismanagement and neglect of dut}^ — and a smart thing 
grow out of it against us." 

The Squire mused over this a little, twisting his 
watch-key. At length he said — 

" I — rather — think not — towns can't be responsible 
for individual misfortunes, and especially when they 
usually attend to matters — about and about — as they 
ought !" 

" So I reckon on," replied Savage. " But Haddock 
and that gang have* a leetle the joke on us now, haven't 
they. Squire Ben ?" 

" A very * little' — not to say — any more than that, I 
grant." 

" Yes, confound the business, I just wish old Tucker 
and Poll had died twenty years ago, than to have had 
this happen," said Savage, with considerable warmth of 
manner and feeling. 

" Why, yes, said the other, " that would indeed have 
been — comparatively — a light misfortune to us — and 
just so to them. But then we can't have things always 
just as we think best," 

" No, sir-ee," replied Savage, " if we could, Squire, I'd 
go in for a regular reform in the town of Crampton." 

" So, so ! Savage." 

" Yes, I would." 

" What would you do ?" 

"Do? I would go in for another cent tax on the 
grand list year in and year out, for an action at law be- 
fore the courts against every one of these foreign State 
paupers. They make a deuced amount of fuss for us. 
Captain Bunce says he's had more trouble growing out 
of folks sympathizing with Boyce, and — er — I don't 
know who, than all the rest put together." 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 271 

" Well, what does the Captain say about Tucker's 
affair ?" 

" Oh, he says it will all blow over in a few days." 

" And is that your notion ?" 

" Yes — that's my opinion. You see. Squire, the state 
of the case is just here — It is done and canH he helped. 
Poll is badly scorched — the house is torn up. The 
whole concern is in a new shape. It's bad — bad for 
them, bad for us, bad for Bunce. But the only cure is 
to let her slide. Things will come up right by and bye." 

" Then you think we can't do any thing better than 
that, eh?" 

" I don't see that we can. Time is the great settler, 
you know." 

" Yes," the Squire knew that, and after musing a lit- 
tle, he came to feel of the same opinion with Savage, 
and to enjoy a good deal of relief. 

So when Mr. Haddock happened in, all the gentlemen 
shook hands, and Squire Ben led off by saying — 

" A bad, bad, horrible state of things, Mr. Haddock !" 

" Quite so," replied he. 

*' Yes," said Savage. " As I told Haddock, not twenty 
minutes ago, up at Jones' store, and a dozen others in 
there, it's ' about as bad as murder.' You know I said 
that, Haddock ?" 

Mr. Haddock recollected the remark. 

" Well, isn't it about half so at any rate. Haddock?" 

Mr. Haddock (very coolly) didn't know what it was 
like. He had " never before seen such a case." 

" And now, Mr. Haddock," said the Squire, " what is 
best to do about it ?" 

Mr. Haddock (very calmly) wasn't prepared to do any 
thing further about it at present. " We have them 
down at Captain Bunce's," said he, " and they are as 



272 NETW England's chattels ; or, 

comfortable a*s possible in their case just at present. 
The town must pay the bills, I suppose." 

" Well — yes — I reckon so, if they are light." 

" Must mind that, though," said Savage. 

" The folks over at Jones' talk,^^ said Mr. Haddock, 
" as though they would like to have the town authorities 
prosecuted, and be willing to pay the bills, let them be 
ever so large." 

"Mere talkl" said Esquire Ben. "I've seen such 

things before. Men don't like to pay such bills so well." 
******* 

Miss Emeline Flush ran to Mrs. Shire's, and the two 
hastened in to Mrs. Smith's, and the three departed with 
celerity to Mrs. Newcombe's, and these, the four, were 
met by four more, who all, with one breath, hegan to say 
the same thing, and then branched all off to saying sev- 
eral things of the same import. ''Did you ever hear of 
such an HORRIBLE thing!" " How could it have happen- 
ed ?" Was there any body to blame ? Is she dead or 
alive? Does she know any thing? Is she drunk? 
Was she sober ? Is old Tucker burnt also ? When did 
they find her ? Who found her ? How did they find 
her ? Dreadful ! Horrible ! Awful ! Mysterious ! 
Shows the uncertainty of life ! Miserable couple ! Fil- 
thy creatures ! Drunken brutes ! Worse than brutes ! 
Shame and disgrace to us ! Dreadful catastrophe ! Un- 
foreseen event! Calls for prayer! Ought to be im- 
proved ! Trust it will be a warning to our young peo- 
ple ! Awful dispensation ! Unexpected ! Dreadful ! 
Touching ! Painful ! 

And yet the speakers did not appear fully to realize 
what it was that wore so " dreadful" an aspect. True, 
Polly Tucker had been exposed to death in the way we 
have mentioned, and her case was a deplorable one ; but 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 273 

the thing most dreadful and to be deplored, was the 
cruel and harsh regulations of the town in respect to its 
pauper and dependent population, in consequence of 
which, the Tuckers, wandering, vicious persons, were 
allowed their drunken orgies, and to celebrate them un- 
molested with all other persons, far and near, whom 
they might be able to persuade into them. 

Old Mr. Warren, George, and Eliza said "it was a 
dreadful misfortune ;" but they were not surprised at 
it. — something of the kind they had long anticipated. 
In like manner the Phillips, Wilsons, and Haddocks had 
expected some awful calamity would befall them sooner 
or later. But the class of persons who scarcely ever 
thought of them, or saw them, were absolutely over- 
whelmed and astonished when the news came flying 
over the town. 

The sympathy of the town for the sufferers, and its 
respect for the Providence, ran out about the usual 
length of such excitements, then wholly passed off ; and 
the paupers of Crampton, Polly and John Tucker in- 
cluded, remained at Captain Isaac Bunco's. 



12* 



274 NEW England's chattels; or, 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

Captain Bunce settles a score with Jims, and Jims with Bastardy and Pauper- 
ism. Remarkable Geniality discoverable in unpropitious circumstances, which 
iy proof that Society is hompgonous and vital. Flaws are exceptions to the rule. 
The Rule remains. 

Old Mr. Warren in a few days regained his usual 
strength and calmness, although there remained on him 
a perceptible grief at the loss of his precious trust. He 
now informed George and Eliza in confidence the whole 
of that secret ^vhich had so seriously weighed of late 
upon his mind. He also told them of the fear he had 
entertained that the Tuckers would put in practice 
their threatenings, and actually burn them up if he di- 
vulged the secret. What had become of the box he did 
not know ; but he said it contained the only document- 
ary evidence in the world respecting the true parentage 
of Jims ; and he should of course suspect the Tuckers, 
if he could, for a single moment, imagine how they had 
obtained access to his drawers. 

Quickened to activity by the remark, Eliza's memory 
recalled the morning when Polly came and so kindly 
offered her services to help off the morning work ; and 
that she was anxious to make the fire in Mr. Warren's 
room, and put it in order while he slept. And now she 
remembered the haste vith which she left after she 
came from the room, although the work was not all done> 

" I have no doubt she found it and took it," said she. 

The old gentleman groaned assent. 



LIFE m THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 275 

** Farewell, then," said he, " to any help from that 
source. They will destroy the paper, and hide the box. 
They have it — there is hardly a doubt of it." 

" I now see," said George, " why she has been hanging 
round the house evenings, peering in at the windows, 
and watching us — especially you, sir." 

" Yes, I have no doubt she has been watching me 
when I have taken out the box, or any of my little curi- 
osities or relics, to see where they were kept." 

" Very likely — the miserable creature !" said Eliza. 

" But they are pretty effectually broken up now," said 
George. " I hope they will find a steady home at the 
poor-house for the next twelve months." 

" I do," said Mr. Warren. " And now that the papers 
are gone, I must do what I can by my own testimony to 
avert from Jims the la'sting disgrace they would inflict 
upon him. I will go before a justice, and make my oath 
to the fact of the death of his mother here, and the cir- 
cumstances of our giving away her child to Annie Sue." 

They all came to think this would be highly important 

in the case ; and it was agreed that, as the weather was 

mild, and no one could tell what a change might spring 

up in any half day of the month of March — windy and 

stormy March — they would go that very day, after an 

early dinner. 

* * * ^ * * * 

" Jims, did you and Roxy and Dan steal one of my 
red roosters last night, you young villain, hey ?" 

This was Captain Bunco, with his hand fiercely and 
ruffianly hold of the youngster's collar. Jims hung his 
head and trembled as only the guilty tremble. 

" Why don't you speak!" thundered the Captain. 

" I havn't ate your rooster." 

" No, but didn't you steal him, and Dan cut ofi" his 
head, and Roxy pick oif his feathers, say?" 



276 NEW England's chattels ; ob, 

" Well," said Jims, " old Bill and aunt Prescott's got 

the scurvy eating your c d salt beef, and — what shall 

we do ?" 

" I'll teach you, you scamp ; and it isn't the first time 
either, is it, you've felt the rod, hey ?" 

" No !" said the boy, looking up with an imploring 
look into his face. But the Captain seized hold of a ma- 
ple rod within his reach, and as few fathers ever do, he 
chastised the young thief, who cringed and cried with 
pain, and promised by all in heaven, earth and hell he 
would never do so any more, " no, not if I starve to 
death." 

" Starve ! you young reptile — Avho's starving you ?" 

" Nobody, nobody I" said the young liar. 

" Oh, Dan ! Dan !" cried Roxy, " do go out and stop 
him — the old rascal's hiding Jims to death." 

Dan, who was complicated in this transaction, raised 
himself slowly up from a half sleeping state on the floor 
of the old musty mansion, and hearing the outcry, went 
outside. He looked on for a little time, and waxing in- 
dignant, although not personally Jims' friend, he cried 
out, " Halloa there, Captain, what's to pay !" 

The Captain deigned no answ^er. It is not in human 
nature to stand calmly by and see a fellow-creature, who 
is even guilty, intolerably abused ; and Dan, who instinc- 
tively comprehended the cause of the punishment, and 
his own exposure to the Captain's ill will, approached 
with such a threatening demonstration of his two gigan- 
tic fists that the Captain, casting the boy headlong from 
him, turned himself fiercely on his new assailant, and 
commanding him to go about his business, dealt him over 
the shoulders a fierce cut with the same, though now 
broken rod. But this was the signal of his own over- 
throw. Dan, who was uncommonly sober, and who when 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOE-HOrSE. 277 

sober was yet a stout man, rushed on Mm with a terrible 
blow — one that if leveled on the head of Alanson Boyce 
had almost consigned him to perpetual silence. The 
Captain, now unsupported by Dick, had no chance of 
escaping it. He sunk to his knees under the blow, and 
fairly rolled to the ground. Dan, who of all other men 
in the establishment was the least humane and merciful, 
fell upon him, and would have beaten him terribly ir 
this condition, had not Jims and Roxy grappled him and 
pulled him away. 

The Captain soon got again on his feet, and shaking 
his fists at them as they retired, swore that he would 
yet pay them soundly for it, if it cost him his life ! 

Jims was severely flogged. He had never before re- 
ceived so terrible a punishment. Smarting with the 
pain, he ran into the house and cried piteously. He 
tore oS his coat, and unrolling his shirt at the neck and 
from his arms, he bathed himself in water, and sought 
help from every one of the inmates, who gathered 
around him and tried to comfort him. Mag took him 
up in her lap, big boy as he was, and held him while 
Mrs. Rice got off his stockings, and they bathed his 
limbs. Dan brought in a great handful of snow and held 
it on his neck and shoulders. Tucker brought an oiled 
rag, taken off from his wife's burns, and put it on his 
chest, and the widow Prescott sent word to him to lift 
uj) his heart to God ! 

By-and-bye, as he became easier, they laid him on the 
bed by the side of Bill, who, as well as Ebenezer Cowles, 
was down with the ^urvy, consequent on steadil}^ feed- 
ing for a long time on the Captain's " prime beef," and 
in the course of one or two hours he fell asleep. 

" Yesterday morning," said Mrs. Rodman to her hus- 
band, who had returned home from an ordination in a 



278 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

neighboring town, "yesterday morning, I had a call 
from our queer young friend Jims." 

" Indeed," said he. " Well, what said Jims ?" 

" Oh 1 he became quite sociable, and as usual got off 
Bome smart things." 

" I presume so." 

" Yes, indeed. He said Captain Bunce wasn't afraid 
of any thing but * lightning and ghosts ;' and they had 
* lately frightened him most out of his seven senses, by 
telling him Joe Harnden's ghost was walking about the 
orchard with a dagger all covered with blood in his 
hand !" 

" Frightful 1 frightful ! wife. What shall be done ? 
What a place that poor-house is — especiafly for this boy 
to be educated in. What can be done about it and 
about him?" 

'• I don't know as you have thought of the thing any 
further, but I have seriously reflected on that hint of 
yours, that we should take him. He isn't a bad boy. 
He is a very smart lad, and may be taught aright even 
yet." 

" Oh, yes, I think so. But it would require much at- 
tention and time." 

" True, it would — perhaps more than we could well 
devote to him." 

" I don't know," said the pastor, thoughtfully. 

" He might be of much help to you about the horse 
and cow. He could do nearly all your chores, and make 
the paths in winter. I think we might find him enough 
to do when out of school, to keep him from idle habits, 
and it certainly would be a relief to you." 

" I think it might — I really think it would," said he. 

" Suppose then," said she, " we ride down to Mr. Had- 
dock's this afternoon and talk with them about it." 



LIFE IN THE NORTHEEN POOR-HOUSE. 279 

" This afternoon, eh ?" 

" Yes, if you are able to spend the time, and do not 
feel too much wearied." 

" This afternoon — let's see — Thursday — to-morrow's 

Friday — then Saturday. Thursday ? Well, so be it, 
wife, we'll go." 

* * % * * ^ 

Mr. and Mrs. Haddock had made arrangements to 
spend the afternoon of Thursday at Judge Fuller's in 
the next town, a drive of about eight miles. Mrs. Ful- 
ler was Mrs. Haddock's sister, a very estimable and in- 
telligent lady. They were just on the point of starting 
from home, when Judge Fuller's sleigh, containing him- 
self, wife and daughter, drove up to their own door. 
They came for a ride and a call, " and," said Mrs. Fuller, 
" we came for a bit of your cold chicken which we know 
you had for dinner, and for one of your handsome daugh- 
ters to take this other seat in the sleigh, when we re- 
turn to-morrow. She must, she must, she shall now go 
back with us and stay a week, and then you all come 
over for her, and we'll have a time, eh ?" 

" Do, aunt Haddock, do, do say yes, will you ?" 

" Why, of course she will 1" said the Judge. *' How 
can she do otherwise ?" 

In fact it was not possible ; and as the Judge was go- 
ing to see a brother lawyer a few miles off, the Had- 
docks' ride for that day was postponed. The Fullers 
left before three o'clock, and then arrived the Phillips. 

How singularly things do happen in this world ! The 
Haddocks were going from home on this Thursday, and 
were just about driving off when the very persons they 
were intending to visit came to see them, and they were 
prevented from leaving. 

At the same time several persons, without any con- 



280 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

cert with one another, had made plans to call on the 
Haddocks, on more than usually interesting business. 
It would have been a disappointment to all parties had 
they not met — and how nearly they failed of it ! 

" Yes," said Mr. Phillips, " this afternoon, if you 
please." 

" Be it so," said his wife ; " early ?" 

" Why, not so very — say by two or three o'clock." 

" You would like to be home before dark ?" 

" If possible — oh, yes." 

" It is a singular affair." 

" Very." 

" Do you think any thing can be brought to light ?" 

" Yes, I do ; don't you ?" 

" Somehow or other I fancy so." 

" Why shouldn't there be ? here's evidence." 

" Yes, as far as it goes." 

** It is almost demonstration." 

" What does it need to make it so ?" she inquired. 

" To prove it is her writing." 

" And that the hoy is Jims .^" 

" Very true. TXell, well, we will go to Haddock's." 

" You say early after dinner ?" 

" Put it at two o'clock," said he. 

At three o'clock the PhiUips came up to the door of 
Mr. Haddock, and were gladly received. The excite- 
ment of Mr. and Mrs. Haddock was very great when 
the box and its contents were shown them, and the 
manner of finding came to be explained. 

" I remember perfectly well," said Mr. Haddock, 
" there was a belief in the community, years ago, that 
Jims wasn't Annie Sue's child. There was a report 
that Julia Sherman's baby did not die, and that it was 
given to 'Annie Sue' to nurse. But then the people 



LIFE IN THE NOETHEEN POOE-HOUSB. 281 

took no very great interest in the affair ; and without 
investigation — for what real difference would it have 
made so far as the pauperage was concerned ? — what 
real difference will it make even now ? — it was suffered 
to die away." 

They were talking on the subject, when who should 
drive up but old Mr. Warren, accompanied by Mr. and 
Mrs. Herring. And before the party were well through 
their greetings in came Mr. and Mrs. Eodman ! 

" I declare !" said Mrs. Haddock, " this must be a 
surprise party. Did you not pass others — come now,' 
don't say you did not — I shall hardly believe you if you 
do !" 

" Yes, we saw one sleigh load," said Mr. Rodman. 

" Why, husband !" 

" I thought it quite likely, sir. Will it arrive soon ?" 

" Mrs. Haddock, it was Judge Fuller's sleigh, you 
know, going in the other direction," said Mrs. Rodman. 

" Oh, ho ! WeU, I understand you. It is the same 
thing, though ; for they, you know, preceded you." 

" Yes, so they told us," replied Mr. Rodman. 

" Well, is it not singular we should all meet here this 
afternoon ?" he continued. " It does almost look like a 
concerted movement." 

" So it does, sir," replied the aged Mr. Warren, " es- 
pecially as I, who seldom leave home on any occasion, 
am of the party." 

" Whether it be concerted or purely accidental," said 
Mrs. Haddock, " it is most pleasing to us." 

" We were going out ourselves — over to Judge Ful- 
ler's," said her husband ; " but they came up here, just 
as we were leaving, and rode away only a few moments 
since." 

The conversation was continued in this way for a 



282 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

time, and at length all parties began to feel a little 
restraint, as each one had come on rather private and 
special business, though, as it finally appeared, on sub- 
stantially the same. 

The allusions that were made to the Tuckers — to 
their past and present condition — brought the different 
parties so nearly to the point of interest in each mind 
present, that directly Mr. Warren said he had lately 
been reflecting on a subject which was of deep interest 
to him, and on which he thought his advanced age, and 
the whole nature of the case, made it highly important 
he should disclose his feelings, and that, indeed, in order 
to state the case to them, he had made the ride that 
afternoon, 

" We are all friends," said Mr. Haddock, " if your 
communication is one that you can make to all of us, be 
pleased to speak — if not — if you would see the pastor, 
or any one of us " 

" Oh ! no, sir — I think ; George and Eliza, there is 
nothing I need withhold from those Avho are present." 

" Just as you think best," said they. 

" Twelve years ago," said he, " and it was more, I 
think — certainly twelve years ago, a distant relative ot 
mine came to me in circumstances of personal distress. 
She had passed through much family sorrow and change. 
Her father, and mother, and aunt were dead. Her hus- 
band had become a ruined man and left her, going far 
off to sea, where he soon perished, and she came to my 
house to die. You know to whom I refer, most of you ?" 

" Mrs. Sherman ?" 

" Yes, Mrs. Julia Sherman. Before she died, she gave 
birth to her third child, under my roof, and as we reside 
remote from the village, few knew of it. At about the 
same time, ' Annie Sue' lost a child a week old, and after 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 283 

Mrs. Sherman died, my wife and I gave lier our little 
one to nurse, and he grew up under her care as her 
child." 

The whole company betrayed the utmost sensation, 
although to mt)st of them this was but a quickening of 
their memories of a certain portion of the history. 

* " But before Mrs. Sherman, my grand-niece, expired, 
she left in our care a paper, containing a note of the 
boy's parentage, and signed it with her own hand " 

Mr. and Mrs. Phillips could hardly restrain their im- 
patience, and did not attempt to check their absorbed at- 
tention. 

" She folded the paper carefully, and calling for a 
small silver tobacco-box, with her husband's name on it, 
she pressed in the paper, and closing the box, gave it 
to us to preserve." 

The Phillips and Haddocks were more than ever in- 
terested. 

" I kept the box after my wife deceased, among some 
little mementoes of her, in an upper drawer of my 
bureau, in a small trunk, occasionally opening it to see 
if it was untouched — for the Tuckers gave me — these 
same wretched people — gave me much annoyance, and 
have threatened to burn us down, if I ever revealed to 
any body the fact that 'Annie Sue,' their daughter, was 
not the true mother of the child. Of late, Polly has 
been very much about our house, prying in at doors and 
windows, and offering her services. Not long since she 
came one morning, and, as Eliza was very busy, she 
gladly accepted of her help. She made myfire^ also, when 
I was asleep, and brushed up the room a little, and we 
have no recollection of seeing the box from that day to 
this. It is gone ! 

Hardly had he finished, when Mr. and Mrs. Phillips 



284 KEW England's chattels; or, 

sprang from their seats, and Mrs. Phillips reaching out 
the box, exclaimed — 

" We have it / We have found it again ! See ! see ! 
Here, is not this the same — the identical box ?" 

Mr. Warren was almost as much unnerved at the sight 
of his regained treasure, as he had been at discovering 
its loss. Both George and Eliza also were almost wild 
with joy. 

" But," said Mr. Warren, " is not the paper missing?" 

" No ! it is all there, every thing appears safe, and as 
you have described it." 

" In the name of truth and of God, my friends," said 
the old gentleman, " how did you come by it ?" 

Mr. Phillips answered, " After the Tuckers were re- 
moved to the poor-house, we tore down what remained 
of the old structure, and under the floor, near the hearth, 
whence I conclude it must have escaped from them 
through the holes in the floor-boards, I discovered it 
among the stones and rubbish, and took it home to my 
wife." 

" For which God be thanked," said the old man. " It 
is He who bringeth to naught the devices of the wicked. 
I came here to make oath before Mr. Haddock, who is a 
Justice of the Peace, to the statements you have heard. 
I am now ready to do so, if thought best in regard to the 
box and paper contained in it." 

" I think it would be as well," said Mr. Haddock. 

" By all means," said Mr. Rodman. 

" It would be proper," said Mr. Phillips. 

Mr. Rodman and his wife began to be much interested 
in this account, although as old Mr. Warren had not, in 
his previous interview with them, mentioned the name 
of Jims' father, they did not feel all the interest in it 
they subsequently came to do. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHEEN POOR HOUSE. 285 

" Before we take this step," said Mr. Haddock, " let us 
see the document itself." 

" To be sure," said Mr. Warren, handing the box to 
Mr. Haddock, who opened it and withdrew the paper. 

"' Will you read it, sir ?" 

" No, sir, I think you may as well read it yourself," 
said Mr. Warren. 

And so Mr. Haddock read as follows : 

" Call my baby James, after his father. This is the 
dying request of his mother ; and let him know he had 
a true and kind father, and a mother who loved him to 
the last. Crampton, January 15, 183-. Julia Caelile 
Sherman." 

" My God !" exclaimed Mrs. Rodman, and bursting 
into a flood of tears, was borne by her husband to a sofa 
almost insensible, and quite incapable for some time of 
further utterance than that of grief. The whole com- 
pany were astonished and overwhelmed. Mr. Haddock 
ran for camphor, and the ladies fanned her. Mr. Rod- 
man was too much occupied to explain, and all were in 
doubt about the cause of her emotion, except, perhaps, 
old Mr. Warren, when she regained her composure suffi- 
ciently to sit up and lean upon her husband. Presently 
she said : 

" Ladies, that poor, neglected child, is the son of my 
own cousin, Julia Carlile 1 I knew," she continued, 
" there was something uncommonly interesting to me in 
the boy — and we came here this day to offer to take him 
from the town and educate him." 

" Now of course we shall do that, my dear !" said her 
husband, with a smile of true and earnest sympathy. 

Mrs. Rodman repaid this expression of her husband's 
interest and divination of her thoughts by a kind pres- 
sure of his hand. 



286 NEW England's chattels ; oe, 

" Thank you," said she, " I knew you would feel and 
say so." 

" Oh, yes !" said all as with one breath. " And now 
Jims will have a home !" 

The whole company now passed an hour in the most 
rapid conversation on the subject, and only broke ofif 
when it was concluded best for Mr. Haddock, Mr. Rod- 
man, and Mr. Phillips to ride over to the poor-house and 
make arrangements with Captain Bunco for the removal 

of the boy. 

****** 

" But what is this !" said the astonished and excited 
Mr. Haddock, " and what does this mean ?" said Mr. 
Phillips and Mr. Rodman, as they approached the bed 
of Jims and saw the red lines on his arms and shoulders, 
received by the boy at the hands of Captain Bunce. 

" It's only a flogging the boy's had," shrieked Mag 
Davies. 

" Only a flogging !" said Mr. Haddock. 

" That's all ! and that's enough, ain't it ?" she cried. 

" How is this, Jims ?" inquired Mr. Haddock. 

" Oh ! it's nothing, sir," said the boy, " I'm better 
now. The Captain got rather high against us for steal- 
ing one of his roosters last night, and though we got it 
for the scurvy folks here. Bill and Cowles and widow 
PresGott, he took the pay out of my hide — but I don't 
care, it's all about well now," and the boy jumped to his 
feet and walked about as usual. 

" But," said Mr. Haddock, " this won't do, Jims ; it's 
not right to beat you so." 

" No," said Jims, " nor to steal his chickens, ha ! ha 1" 

" Well, I guess Dan give it to him," cried Mag. 

" ' Give it' to who, pray ?" he asked. 

" The old Captain, ah ! ah ! Dan knocked him over 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 287 

with his fist, ha 1 ha ! ha ! head and heels, didn't he, 
Rox?" 

" Ha ! ha ! ha I" shouted Roxy. " Yes, he did." 

" Didn't hurt the old c ," grumbled that worthy 

from a corner. " Do him some good I hope though." 

" Where is the Captain ?" inquired Mr. Haddock. 

" Gone to bed drunk, I'll bet a thousand dollars," said 
Mag. 

" Yes," said old Tucker. " He'll not show himself 
again to-day." 

This was a painful interview to all, and it was espe- 
cially so to Mr. Rodman. Sad was it to contemplate the 
life the child had led there to this its culminating point 1 
Sad to know that in the neglected state into which he 
had been cast, he had acquired habits that might never 
cease their ravages upon his moral being ; sad to see 
him marked and dishonored thus with the rod of a 
tyrant, and distressing to bear him in this condition into 
the presence ot his newly-found relatives and friends. 

Mr. Haddock succeeded in finding Captain Bunce, but 
not in a condition to be reasoned with, and he left him 
saying, they would take away the boy and the town 
would be released from his further support. 

" Take him if you like — take him ! take him, I say 1 
Do you hear me ? Take him ! — oh, yes, take him — and 
— welcome — take him !" Mr. Haddock shut the door 
and left his presence. 

" James," said Mr. Haddock, " come with me, — can 
you walk ?" 

" Oh, yes," said the boy. 

" Come with us. Good night, folks." 

" Good night, sir. Thank ye," said Mag. 

" Jims," said Mr. Haddock. 

" What, sir ?" inquired the boy. 



288 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" We have found you a new home." 

"Sir?" 

" We think of taking you away from the poor-house." 

" Sir ?" 

" We wonder if you wouldn't like^ to live in a better 
place ?" 

" I don't know, sir." 

" Suppose Boyce would like to go back there ?" 

" Sooner go to the grave !" said he. 

" Well, would you like to get away ?" 

" For good and all ?" 

" Yes, for good and all." 

" You know that, sir." 

" We are going to take you away from him." 

" From the Captain ?" The boy stopped for a mo- 
ment as if rivetted to the earth. 

"Yes." 

" Will you go and live with me and Mrs. Rodman, my 
boy ?" now interposed the clergyman. 

Jims trembled and leaned his hand on Mr. Haddock. 

" We have thought of it for some time, James," said 
he, " and to-day have aU made up our minds, if you are 
willing, that you shall be our boy and live with us. So 
just tell us if you are willing ?" 

' If I could be of any use to you, or not be in the way, 
I should like it dreadfully,^'' said the boy through his 
tears, hardly daring to believe himself awake. But as 
they went on and drew nigh the house, and then went 
in, and the ladies and the children, and old Mr. Warren 
and George and Eliza gathered round him and shook 
hands with him and comforted him, while they also 
could hardly refrain .from weeping at the wretched 
plight he was in, he began to feel that he was not only 



LIFE IN THE NORTHEEN POOR-HOUSE. 289 

awake, but that be also bad been liberated from the 
sunken grave of (New England) pauperism ! 

That very night Jims, washed, combed, and made of 
a Tiew thing, bis old bat and garments made a bonfire of, 
Jims no longer, but James by a title to manhood and 
freedom no one could question, slept away the hours on 
what to him was a bed of down under the roof of the 
kind Mr. and Mrs. Rodman. 



la 



290 NEW England's chattels : or. 



CHAPTER XXYTII. 

" We should of course miss a Pauper, Mr. Savage, of course !" It is quite a Mathe- 
matical certainty that two and two are four ; and that if one be taken from four, 
there are left but three. Now, as Pure Mathematics is a dead certainty, we 
have no diflSculty with it until we yoke to it our Moral Certainties. Then we 
may say, " Of course, Mr. Savage !" But there's a lingering doubt — an absence 
of Demonstration, after all. 

The announcement of these things went with great 
rapidity over the town of Crampton, causing no small 
amount of excitement every where. There was gene- 
rally much joy at Jims' good fortune ; surprise at the 
romance of his history, and Mrs. Rodman's relationship ; 
consternation among some who apprehended it an en- 
tering wedge to impose on the town a new poor-house 
system ; and in the mind of Captain Bunco the fear of a 
legal investigation, and a fine for his barbarity. 

But Mrs. Polly Tucker was enraged. She became 
frantic and wild under the excitement, and tore the 
bandages from her wounded person. She cursed and 
swore, calling old Mr. Warren " a great, good-for-nothing 
old hypocrite, fit only for the stake." She " would like 
an opportunity to burn him up," and believed she should 
yet find one. 

In fact, Polly could not be pacified. The injury done 
to the memory of her daughter was of such a flagrant 
description, she could see no relief from it — no excuse, 
therefore, would palliate it. She stormed about, cast 
all her medicines into the fire, refused food, heaped 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 291 

maledictions on everybody, and became a perfect fury. 
A fever, that left no doubt on the minds of any how it 
would terminate, now seized her ; and in a few days, 
unlamented, poor Polly's remains went to the grave in 
one of the poor-house coffins. 

The attention of Captain Bunce was now particularly 
called to his scurvy patients. They had taken the dis- 
order under the generous and plethoric treatment of the 
Captain, ever since the purchase of Savage's "prime" 
beef. It proved too much of a good thing — the last 
feather that killed the camel. Requiring an entirely 
new change in diet to restore them and keep them well, 
the Captain traded away three barrels of the beef, and 
got in exchange a lot of rusty number three and four 
mackerel, and some damaged feet and heads of pork, 
and accused Savage of selling him bad meat 1 But Mr. 
Savage knew better than that ; the meat was all he 
recommended it ; he only sold it for cheap meat, good 
enough for the paupers ; and any fool might know better 
than to feed it out every day for two months, even to 
them. The Captain had the worst of the argument, as 
well as the worst lot of "prime" beef in town. More- 
over, as he apprehended, the article actually fell in 
value, so that he lost two dollars a hundred on what he 
traded off. In many respects, the trade with Mr. Sav- 
age resulted badly for Captain Bunce. 

The snows began to dissolve away towards the last 
of March and in the first days of April. Many a bank, 
and even many a pyramid of the flaky substance melted 
down. It was observed, in an adjoining town, that as 
the snow settled away on the south side of a long piece 
of woods near the road, the birds of winter, the crows, 
and hawks gathered the: e, cawing and screaming, and 
diving down towards the earth furiously, and then again 



292 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

sailing away into the atmosphere, fluttered for a while, 
and then made another sudden and angry descent ; or, 
perched on the topmost branch of an old hemlock tree, 
peered down into the shade as if to notice some object 
not entirely concealed from view. And also the dogs 
in the neighborhood, or that passed by, ran from the 
woods, howling and moaning, and in the night barked a 
hideous barking, that kept awake their owners, and led 
them to speak of it the next day. 

SloAvly in the shade of hemlocks, and in the dense 
growth of branches and alders — slowly settles down and 
melts aw^ay the winter's snow. But warmer suns, longer 
days, gentle rains prevail ; the snow dissolves away 
even there, and presently there is an end to all the 
mystery of this gathering and wild flying and cawing 
of the birds ; the painful barking and wild trembling 
and midnight howling of the dogs. The neighbors have 
found there, and now completely removed it from the 
snow, the frozen, poorly clad corpse of a human being. 
A basket is beside it, and a jug half filled with poorest 
wine. It is a female — an aged woman — long dead, and 
buried in the deep snows of the winter ! 

The coroner's inquest that was held on the body, de- 
cide that she died from exposure to the cold. 

But who is this snow-clad one ? Whence came she ? 
Have any lost a friend, beloved, revered — a grey-haired 
mother, wife, sister, neighbor? And echo answers, 
have they? 

Go throughout the families of the place, and no one 
will be found who have missed her. There is not a so- 
cial relation snapped by her decease and absence in the 
town. No church there has lost a member, no hamlet 
is one the less for her. 

The town is astir, however, with the news, and many 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 29B 

go to the lonely place where the body was discovered, 
and walk away saying, " this is a strange and mysterious 
affair !" 

The investigations of the coroner's jury go to show 
that the woman was aged and friendless, poorly clad, 
and that she probably belonged in some other town — 
perhaps even a pauper ; that she was overtaken by night 
in a severe storm, or cold day, and betook herself for 
shelter to this clump of trees, where she perished, and 
lay entombed over the sojourn of winter. 

Word is forthwith sent out into the towns around an- 
nouncing this sad and unusual event, and giving all the 
particulars of the inquest. 

" No such person has been living here 1" said Squire 
Ben Stout. 

" I think not !" said the selectman, Mr. Jonas Savage. 

" You know — of course you know — you would know — 
Mr. Savage, if any body was missing from the roll of 
our paupers — of course you would," said Squire Ben. 

" I ought to know," said that gentleman, "I have been 
there often enough this winter — and — lets me see — they 
are more full now than ever, I believe." 

" Well, so I had got the idea," replied the Squire, " I 
guess it don't belong to us any how ; do you. Savage ?" 

" The body 1" 

" Yes/of course — the body !" 

" Don't see how it can, if they are all on hand and 
alive." 

" Just so ; that's my opinion. We of course should 
miss a pauper gone all winter ! Better tell them we 
havn't lost any. Faith and here comes Haddock — and 
on my soul ! Bunco ! How do you do, gentlemen ? 
Savage and I were just counting noses down at the 
poor-house, and find it all right with us ; about this dead 



294 NEW ENGLAND^S CHATTELS ; OR, 

person, what is it, Haddock ? Do you get any hold of 
the rumor, Bunce, eh ?" 

" Why, we feel a little startled," said the latter. 

" We fear. Squire Stout," said Mr. Haddock, " that 
the deceased woman does belong to us, and is the aged 
Mrs. Dodge of the poor-house family." 

" Whe-w !" exclaimed the Squire — " Dodge I Dodge . 
Did I ever know any thing about Dodge, Savage ?" 

" Why, I rather think," said that mouth-piece of the 
old Squire, " there is a Dodge on the books." 

" I've a confoundly treacherous memory," said the 
Squire. " What Dodge was it, and how long had she 
been on ?" 

" Mrs. Dodge was the widow of Mr. Hiram Dodge, 
formerly a thriving business man here," said Mr. Had- 
dock, " and at last a poor man, keeper of the turnpike 
gate. You remember Mm, Squire Ben?" 

" To be sure I to be sure, Mr. Haddock, I do indeed. 

A fine man of business and character he once was. 
Pity though that he fell off, and went down ; a great, sad 
misfortune. And our Dodge on the roll was his widow. 
I declare, I recollect it now as well as if it happened 
only yesterday. But then it can't be she — you know — 
why, she was of the wevj first family in Cramp ton ! No, 
it's some other person — it's not Mrs. Dodge, Savage! 
Heavens, no ! Besides, Captain Bunce would miss her, 
you know, at once, and look her up." 

" Oh, yes, to be sure," said Captain Bunce, " we missed 
her, and I asked the paupers about her, and we kinder 
expected the old lady in every day or two. She didn't 
come, however, and after a reasonable while we gave 
up looking for her. One can't spend all the winter 
months, you know, running after wandering and vaga- 
bond paupers. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 295 

" True. That's true, Captain Bunce, I don't see but 
you are excusable if it is she." 

" Have they not a claim on us, gentlemen," inquired 
Mr. Haddock, in a very solemn and serious manner, 
*' for at least a reasonable share of attention and sym- 
pathy ?" 

"Now, Haddock, don't! Don't go into the matter as 
if any body was unreasonable and inhuman," said Sav- 
age. " You know that Captain Bunce makes every pro- 
vision in his power " 

" I don't know any such thing, Mr. Savage," he ex- 
claimed, interrupting him. " I am not at all conscious 
of any such thing. Captain Bunce is here, and can 
answer for himself; I can't." 

"Why it is simply here, Captain," said Savage — 
" when you find any of the folks gone, you feel it your 
duty to inquire after them, don't you ?" 

" To be sure." 

" Yes ; and so you inquired, as usual, about Mrs. 
Dodge ?" 

" To be sure." 

" Yes ; and so you would inquire for Tucker, or any 
of them?" 

" To be sure." 

" And if you are around about, if it comes handy, you 
inquire of strangers ?" 

" Oh, yes, to be sure." 

" I thought so. Well, now, Mrs. Dodge, she went 
away and didn't come back— ^-and you couldn't hear any 
thing of her ?" 

" Just so, sir." 

" Why, it is as clear as daylight, gentlemen," said Mr. 
Savage, " that Captain Bunce is 0. K. He's an upright 
overseer — a very careful, conscientious man in his con- 
tract." 



296 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

"Well, gentlemen, what's to be done?" inquired the 
Squire. " I think, on the whole, it must be Mrs. Dodge, 
and that she wandered off last winter as w^as stated, and 
got into the snow. Think so. Haddock ?" 

" "We think it altogether probable," answered Mr. 
Haddock. 

" Oh 1 there ain't any doubt of it," said Savage. 
" She's been gone, it seems, and couldn't be found all 
winter. Now, the spring has set in, up she turns, froze 

to death, and covered up in one of these d deep 

snows. Who in thunder could expect the old lady to 
come to light till the snows left ? And so, it's all right 
and nat'ral, here she is." 

This harangue of Savage's, which set out the case in 
a very vivid, life-like manner — in striking brevity of 
style, after the usual terseness of earnest men, in right 
earnest ways of speaking — was a perfect settler of the 
whole matter to the overwhelming conviction and satis- 
faction of both the Squire and the Captain ; and it was 
ordered that Captain Bunce, accompanied by Mr. Sav- 
age, should go over to A , and if they found it the 

body of Mrs. Dodge — the lamented and diligently-search- 
ed for, late a pauper of Crampton, and once the belle of 
Crampton — they were to fetch it home, and as soon as 
might be, consistent with funeral proprieties, give it a 
(Christian) pauper's burial 1 

A dull, heavy tread — a slowly moving vehicle — wea- 
ried, jaded horses — a heavy, lead-like load — and the team 
draws up at the side entrance of the poor-house in 
Crampton. 

" It is best. Captain — altogether best, as you say," re- 
marked Mr. Savage. " They would be terribly shocked 
if the body were carried in and kept over night. It is 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 297 

now four o'clock. Let the folks come out and see the 
corpse. Send word to have the minister meet us at the 
grave — which is dug, I presume, by this time, for I told 
Whuggs to have one ready — and let her be buried to- 
day." 

" By all means," said the Captain. 

Mr. Haddock was sent for, and counselled delay ; but 
they out-voted him. And the poor folks came out as 
they best could to see their old companion, who had in 
this singular manner gone to her last abode. They were 
struck with the naturalness of the features, and with 
the very smile that the old lady usually carried about 
with her when she was pleased, and in her sociable 
moods. They all affirmed at once to the identity of the 
corpse, and in due time a little procession moved on — 
and on — and on — towards the last old home that dying 
mortals, reaching, tarry in from generation to genera- 
tion to the end.* 

* * * -St * * 

Gathered around their cheerless fire, the lessening 
band shivered and paled before the striking testimony 
of their own dreams. 

"Ah," said Mag, " I once was heedless about them. 
I didn't believe a word of them. I laughed at them — 
and now see how they're fulfilled !" 

* Woman Found Dead. — The body of an elderly woman was found in the woods 
close by Three-Cornered Pond, in the south part of Granby, on Sunday. From 
appearances, she had been dead several months : the body had been covered with 
snow. A basket, and some small change, was found beside her. She was appa- 
rently an American woman, and may have been a pauper. An inquest was held, 
and the verdict was in accordance with the facts. From her dress, basket and 
bundle, it is believed she was Mrs. Lattimer, of Simsbury, who has been missing 
since last October. This supposition is strengthened by the fact that Mrs. L. was 
last seen in October near this spot, in a partially bewildered condition, endeavoring 
to find her way to Simsbury from her place in Granby, where she had been kept 
with some of the town -poor. ^Hartford Times. April 1st, 1857. 

13 



298 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" Yes," said Mrs, Prescott, " she was married to tho 
* misty white gentleman/ the winter's flying snow ; it 
fell over her as a blanket, and kept her safely. She 
slept calmly all the winter and suffered no more. And 
then was she not taken to the great wedding of the 
Lamb, to the great and crowded assemblage there? 
Oh ! Mag, what a dream — what a dream was that 1" 

" A dreadful, solemn one !" she answered. " Yes, 
I'm now and forever a firm believer in them. Aunt 
Joanna Dodge has undoubtedly got to heaven, where 
she is happy, and now, who knows — who knows but the 
other dream will come to pass, eh ?" And Mag walked 
up and down the room with folded hands. " 

" Pshaw ! pshaw !" said Dan. 

" Pshaw ! pshaw ! psliaiu ! if you will," sputtered Mag, 
" I know it will. There's Jims already got out of the 
poor-house and become a smart one they say. And who 
knows what's before the whole of us ?" 

" Dan !" said the old widow, " is the Lord's hand 
shortened that it cannot save ?" 

" That's a plaguy sight more than I know," said he. 

" But I know," says Mag. " He^s Almighty .'" 

" Yes," said Mrs. Rice, " it's nothing for him to do 
wonders." 

Had Mrs. Dodge died when she was Joanna Martin, in 
the height of her loveliness, at seventeen, all the young 
men and ladies of Crampton would have gone mourning 
to her grave. How many words of consolation would 
her parents and sisters have received ! What prayers 
would have been offered, what sermons preached ! Had 
she died at forty, in the zenith of her womanhood, in the 
full glare of her influence, the pattern of good mothers 
and wives, what an array of grief-stricken ones had there 
been at her funeral ! What solemn tones would have 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 299 

been in the tolling bell ! Who of Crampton's best men 
would not have gladly officiated as her pall-bearers ! — ■ 
What newspaper would not have been more than willing 
to give her an extended obituary ! And what a rude 
shock would have gone over the hearts of all in the par- 
ish had not prayers been asked and said in her memory! 

So it makes a difl'erence how we die ! 

Men should not allow themselves to say or even think 
it dies not. 

Reader, if you die from one of New England's poor- 
houses — though now you may be Judge, Squire, Cap- 
tain — Mrs. this one or Mrs. that — if you die a pauper, 
you will never get your case into any pulpit in the land ; 
nor will any respectable newspaper give you an obituary 
notice, unless it be as a statistical fact, probably a cut- 
ting one, sarcastic, facetious or solemn, for the benefit of 
Summary, — a long, wide awake, factotum sort of an indi- 
vidual the newspapers are mighty thick with ! 

Mrs. Dodge happened to die just as she did, and 
when she did — in a remarkable manner even for a pau- 
per ; but prayers were not asked or said for her in 
church ; no one went to her grave but officials, and no- 
body considered the world a loser by her departure. — 
The papers announced the singular manner of her death, 
and Summary took it up in several quarters, and Scrap- 
Book pasted the announcement on a blank brown-paper 
page for future reference ; but that was the end of it — • 
that was all. No marble ever graced the head of her 
grave ; no exotic plant, rose or shrub Wci« planted on its 
sods. Wild nature, alone, grassed her sleeping place, 
and the sexton was the only man of a thousand who 
could point you to it. 

" It makes a difference — guess it does indeed," said 
Old Mortality, " death is the same, but we are not!" 



300 NEW England's chattels ; or. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

Mrs. Armstrong's great apprehension. Poverty ia very ugly to look straight at ! 

" It's a dreadful place 1 ob-h-li !" sighed and groaned 
Mrs. Armstrong, whose husband was a merchant, when 
she heard these things. " And it is a possible fate to 
many a one of us. Oh, how could I survive it — how.live in 
that awful, wretched manner for an hour ! And yet there 
is aunt Prescott w'ho holds out, and they say is compara- 
tively cheerful. But what neglect, what cruelt}^, what 
uncleanliness, what language, what absence of the fear 
of God and of man. I could not live there, and yet my 
husband says ' we may come to it.' I know I should 
never endure it. I would rather die to-night ! How 
carefiil ought every body to be in his expenses who is 
exposed to such a fate as this !" Mrs. Armstrong de- 
clined going to a sleigh ride that day, the last of the 
sleighing, with her husband, " for," said she, " it would 
be an awful thing to want the very necessaries of life in 
the poor-house in consequence of extravagance now." 
" Pshaw, Lucy, who's been scaring you to-day, pray ?" 
" Oh ! I am scared to death every day, when I see 
what danger there is of poverty. Don't you know, Mr. 
Armstrong, you are in debt ? That you have notes 
coming due every day, and that you are harassed and 
dream ugly dreams ? Now be warned by me, and don't 
run headlong into expenses. Let us save money while 
we have a little, for the tender mercies of the town are 
cruelty." 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 301 

" Well, Lucy, if 5^011 ain't about crazy on this point, 
I'll give up. I tell you I am worth ten thousand dollars 
to-day, and there is just no danger of the poor-house at 
all." 

" You needn't argue in that way, Frederic. I know 
that ten thousand dollars is a dreadful little sum of 
money in these days ! The interest of it is but six hun- 
dred dollars a year, and if we had nothing but that we 
should soon come to poverty, and beggary itself. 
Oh-h-h !" 

" Lucy, now pray get rid of this whim." 

" I tell you, Fred, it ainH a ' whim,' it's living truth." 

" What's set you agoing so intolerably fast to-day ?" 
he asked. 

" Oh, nothing new — only — yes. There is old aunt 
Joanna Dodge who used to be the belle of Crampton, I 
have heard my grandmother speak of her as the hand- 
somest creature she ever set eyes on, and she was a 
familiar friend of my mother twenty years ago, she has 
been buried all winter in the snow, just because she had 
become a pauper, and nobody cared enough about her 
to seek for her." 

" Well, it is a hard and tough story, that's a fact. 
But why need it so frighten you ?" 

" Frighten me ! Because it is such a dreadful place, 
the poor-house. Such a cold, starving, corrupt, forgot- 
ten community is there. I shudder when I think it 
even possible that you and I, or one of our children 
should ever go over its threshold." 

Mr. Armstrong embraced his wife lovingly, and as- 
sured her that he really believed they would be able to 
keep out of it, and admitted there was too much ex- 
travagance and too much disregard of the facts of pov- 
erty daily passing before them. He said he meant to be 



302 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

economical and wary, and begged his wife to regain her 
composure. 

One of the boys soon after came in for a shilling to 
pay for mending his sled. 

" Willard !" said Mrs. Armstrong, " I suppose there 
are some poor boj's at the poor-house who never have 
a sled, and who almost never see a shilling. Now, don't 
you think it wicked to break your sled and then come 
to me for twelve-and-a-half cents to mend it, when your 
poor father and mother can hardly live as it is ?" 

" Ma'am !" exclaimed the frightened boy. 

" I say, my son, we are poor and can't afford to mend 
sleds." 

" I didn't know we were so poor, mother !" 

" Well, ^ve may he ; and it is the duty of all of you 
children to try and save money, so as not to come to 
want, and go to that dreadful place, the poor-house." 

Ellen came in and begged her mother to buy her a 
new pair of shoes, but Ellen was denied 

" Your old shoes, Ellen, are better than many wear, 
and many a one has been reduced to beggary by need- 
lessly spending money for shoes, ribbons, puff-combs, 
rings, bri /les, and hair-pins." 

" Mot^ jr, do you think we shall be ?" inquired Ellen, 
thoughtfully. 

" I cannot tell you, my child. Sometimes I greatly 
fear it. Expenses are all the time increasing, and 
there seems no end to the extravagance of building, 
trading, living. If we ever do come down to the poor- 
house we shall be mortified to death, besides under- 
going all the suffering." 

Mrs. Armstrong told a pedlar to go away ; she 
didn't need any of his goods. She declined giving even 
Miss Flush, president of the Ladies' Sewing Society, her 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERiSr POOR-HOUSE. 303 

usual annual donation of a quarter of a dollar on the 
same plea. 

" Why, Miss Flush, we are all bound to the poor- 
house ; did you know it ? Did you know that there 
was going to be an awful crash among us one of these 
days ? And then to think of the end to which we are 
approaching — perhaps just such another death as Mrs. 
Dodge !" 

Miss Flush said it was an awful and flesh-crawling state- 
ment : it had almost sickened her of society and of life. 
But she daily said her prayers, and interested herself in 
works of benevolence, and so hoped she should be saved 
from absolute poverty, and especially from the poor-house. 

" Well, I do hope. Miss Flush, you'll never come to that." 

" As I live a single life," said that lady 

" Nobody knows how long you may," quickly retorted 
the other. 

" What, ma'am ! Did you imply that I might be mar- 
ried some day ?" 

" I did." 

" And yet you know that I am violently opposed to 
matrimony ?" 

" True ; but ladies frequently marry against their 
inclination " 

" Never shall I give myself away, Mrs. Armstrong, to 
a person who has not my entire regard." 

" One would imagine. Miss Flush, that most ladies 
would marry any body with a goTjd, genteel property 
that would keep them from want." 

" You are severe on the ladies to-day, Mrs. Armstrong. 
Now that is not my idea at all. I think our ladies 
marry from true principle, and from a desire of correct 
happiness." 

" I think that many of them marry without much idea 



304 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

at all, except to make a display and avoid being old 
maids. But who would not rather be an old maid all 
her days, than to be the mother of children sent to the 
poor-house !" 

" Well, it is a dreadful, dismal place, I suppose." 

" Have you never been there ?" 

" Been there — what, I !" 

" Yes, to be sure." 

" Why, no, of course : have you ?" 

" What, me !" 

" Yes, indeed, you." 

" No, not inside ; but I have heard enough of it to 
frighten me out of sleep for a fortnight. (Heigho //' 

" It is said the town takes good care of the inmates." 

" Miss Flush, it is false I The town does not furnish 
them with any of the comforts of life. Many of them 
sleep on the floor, in poorly-warmed and exposed rooms ; 
many have the poorest of clothing ; some of them almost 
starve to death. And the evil falls where you wouldn't 
expect it — on our own native-born citizens." 

" Well, I am surprised !" 

" It is literally so ; ask Squire Ben, he'll tell you all 
about it." 

"Uncle Stout seems to think they are comfortably 
off." 

" Ask Mr. Haddock." 

" Oh, I know ; Haddock's a fanatic." 

" Well, suppose he is. He has been all over the poor- 
house, which is more than any of us can say." 

" And now, my dear friend, (to change the eubject,) 
you won't forsake us and decline to bestow your usual 
donation, now don't refuse, Mrs. Armstrong — pray, don't 
now." 

" I must to-day, I certainly must ; I do not feel that a 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 305 

cent of money in my possession is my own to give away 
to anything." 

" True, but this is lending, as we hope, to the Lord." 

" Well, if so, the Lord loves the cheerful giver. I must 
bring myself right before I can do any good v/ith my 
money." 

Accordingly Miss Flush bade her a kind afternoon, 
and went elsewhere. 

On the next Sabbath, Mrs. Armstrong was at church, 
in a rich, dark silk dress, and a very heavy cashmere 
shawl, but her face wore a rather serious aspect, and it 
was not relieved till the minister preached on the sin of 
extravagance, and prayed that the people might not 
come by their sins to the doors of poverty. 

" I told you so, Mrs. Pepper," said her rich old miserly 
husband. " I have long foreseen it — the sequel can't be 
long coming. We are doomed to the poor-house." 

" What now ?" grumbled she. 

" George wants more money I" (whispered the old 
miser.) 

" George does ?" 

" Yes !" 

" Well, he can't have it, can he ?" 

" No, not fairly — not without security." 

" Then he can't have it at all, can he ?" 

" I don't see that he can." 

" How can he ? Hasn't he any security left ?" 

" His stock is about all mortgaged !" 

" Then tell him he can't have it, hey ?" 

" I think I must— but— but " 

"'But' what?" 

" He will secure a little further — — " 



" Look out, old man, for the poor-house 1" 
" I'm afraid on't, I vow." 



306 NEW England's chattels ; oh, 

" If we get there we shall never go any tiifiii.;;-, up 
nor down." 

" How so ?" 

" It's as bad as the pit," said she. 

" Horrible necessity," said her husband, and they 
both ruminated over it for a long time. 

" One thing is as plain as day to me, Mrs. Pepper." 

" What is it, eh ?" 

" That we can't afford to be so extravagant !" 

" I know it." 

" We can't afford to buy tea, flour, sugar, tobacco." 

"No," said she, " nor any new shoes, nor pipes, nor 
snuff." 

" We must eat up close all the old crusts. Have we 
any left of yesterday ?" 

" Yes, two or three pieces, and some bad cold pota- 
toes." 

" Make our dinner out of them." 

"Can we afford salt?" 

" And vinegar !" 

"And pepper?" 

" And mustard ! No, no, no .'" said he. Salt is good 
enough alone sometimes. We must live on nothing 
that costs us anything ; we shall then be at the poor- 
house soon enough." 



LIFE liSr THE N^OKTHERN POOK-nOUSE. 307 



CHAPTER XXX. 

The Missionary's Letter. "We ha\e known one Missionary who complained that 
he couldn't be thankful enough, and another who complained that he was too 
thankful. So we fancy that somewhere near the middle of the beam lies the true 
emotion. 

If you would not have known James, {alias Jims,) the 
next day after his introduction into Mr. Rodman's family, 
you certainly would not have known him a month later. 
The very next day he appeared in a new hat, new grey 
pants, brown jacket, neat shoes and stockings, with a 
clean, bright face, and well-combed black and curling 
locks. He stood also erect, like a free boy and a happy 
one, with a look of firmness and decision that occasion- 
ally gleamed out in the days of his degradation, in cir- 
cumstances connected with his past history. 

Mrs. Eodman was proud of him, and with her husband 
formed a system of daily life for the present, in which 
they strove to bring out his powers of self-government 
and personal reliance, as well in small things as in those 
that were greater. They wished him to pursue a course 
of study and of life that would lead him to deep reflec- 
tion, and so bring him to realize the true nature of 
things, to know something of his own being, and of his 
personal obligations ; of God's holiness ; of the nature 
of sin, of love and truth, and to lead him to right exer- 
cises of mind in general. They did not expect the boy 
would immediately become a man of maturity of knowl- 
edge, but they did expect that he would make progress 



308 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

in knowledge by observation and experience every day 
he lived. He was not too young to entertain many defi- 
nite and clear ideas of life ; and such had been his posi- 
tion for more than twelve years, that there was reason 
to begin forthwith a course of thorough systematic de- 
velopment of his true nature, and put him on the right 
track of life. 

James, rejoicing in his newly-found liberty, was per- 
fectly willing to conform to the rules they established 
over him, and his conduct every day showed that he ap- 
preciated their kindness, and that he was determined to 
make it the duty of his life to please them. 

Mr. and Mrs. Rodman themselves at the first attended 
altogether to his instruction. They found him able to 
read a little, though awkwardly and wdth hesitation. 
He could also write a very poor page. Of arithmetic 
he knew the simplest rules ; of grammar and history 
almost nothing. But such was his desire and such his 
application, such the grasp of his intellect and the atten- 
tion of his friends, that in three months he had shot 
ahead far in advance of his friends' expectation. He also 
immediately came to be respected by the other boys, 
and to be known to them. He was received into the 
Sabbath-school, and was attentive and respectful to his 
teachers, always in the slip also on the Sabbath. Scarcely 
a vestige of his former character could be noticed about 
him at the end of three months ; and among the boys 
and girls he associated with it scarcely seemed to be re- 
membered that he had once been a poor, abused, a wild, 
good-for-nothing pauper ! 

Meanwhile Miss Flush and her ladies made up and for- 
warded the missionary things — a very large, complete 
assortment of clothing, and of other articles that would 
be wanted somewhere, and they sent it off with many 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 309 

tears and prayers. Mr. Rodman himself \vrote a letter, 
besides the one which Miss Flush penned, forwarding it 
unsealed, along with the articles sent, hoping it Avould 
meet the eye of the fortunate yet afflicted family to whom 
the goods might come in the far "West, as soon as they 
opened the box ! 

There was great rejoicing over this long enterprise 
completed. Indeed, it was a work that required much 
devotion, labor, patience, and calculation to bring 
through successfully — and these were not wanting in the 
elements of Miss Flush's constitution. She was great 
on boxes of this sort, and the parish of Crampton knew 
her importance and worth, although we are of the opin- 
ion that it did not but about half know and appreciate 
her after all ! 

When this was all done, which it took five weeks in- 
stead of three to do, and Mrs. Smith said she must have 
made a wrong calculation in putting it at three, the so- 
ciety was ready to do a day's work for Mrs. Phillips' 
poor neighbors. In the meantime, one of the children 
had been carried off by a sudden cold and lung fever, 
and the necessities of the family had been relieved by 
the charities of the neighbors. But Mrs. Phillips had 
calls for help from other sources, and the society's offer 
was accepted. 

As for the paupers, it was the general opinion that 
Captain Bunce would resent any interference to relieve 
them, and it was left with Mrs. Haddock to do as she 
thought best in that respect. 

The ladies were now at work for the merchant, Mr. 
Longwell. 

They entered on this work with a great stock of en- 
thusiasm, and made by calculation out of it and a public 
fair that they intended to advertise about strawberry 



310 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

time, at least five hundred dollars. With this monev 
they were going to remodel the church pulpit, new 
cushion and carpet the house, and put a new row of posts 
with iron chains in front of it along by the side-walk. 

In the course of a few weeks, Miss Flush received the 
following letter from a distant missionary, to whom it 
seems their box of clothing, bedding, etc., etc., had been 
forwarded : — 

« M , 111, May 25, 184-. 

Miss E. Flush : — 

Your favor and that of the Rev. Mr. Rodman, accompanying a 
large box of clothhig, and other domestic work, came safely to hand 
on the 20th inst. We live in a retired part of the world, and have 
but small opportunity of seeing the faces of our benefactors. Your 
generosity and that of the ladies of Crampton, is very generally re- 
garded in our small family as a favor worthy of the highest regard. 
We shall hope to appropriate the articles by and bye to the use con- 
templated by the kind and generous donors, but are at present 
making up our supply from a similar presentation sent on by my 
wife's friends in New York. 

Accept, dear friend, for yourself and your associates, my kindest 
Christian regards, and in these my wife begs heartily to unite. The 
pressure of public business must be my apology for brevity. 

Truly, &c., &c,, Moses Diamond." 

Now, Miss E. Flush had often received letters of ac- 
knowledgment for similar favors before. But she had 
never received one quite as cool and business-like as this. 
She and her friends expected to receive a letter of at 
least four pages, giving an account of the particular 
adaptedness of every article of goods in the box to the 
peculiar situation of some one in the family that received 
it, containing over and over again the great sense of 
obligation awakened, abounding in ejaculatory thank,9- 
givings, and making a general confession of " unworthi- 
nesa to receive the like of it," <fec. &c. It was expected 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERX POOR-HOUSE. 311 

also to be a document, extracts from which the pastor 
would read from the pulpit, and in the social meetings ; 
especially giving a summary of the religious condition 
of the West, its educational wants, and so forth ; also 
setting forth the state of the temperance enterprise, and 
that of the Sabbath-school — happy if the document did 
not cover eight instead of four pages ! 

But this was decidedly cool — too cool — it did not pay. 
Some of the ladies said they should know it when they 
gave anything for another missionary box. Others said 
he was a rich man, and hacl a rich wife — still others that 
he didn't know any better — and others still, that he was 
proud, and ought not to be a missionary. Some even 
went so far as to afSrm that they had rather given the 
box to the town paupers ! or scattered the articles about 
to the poor in the various neighborhoods of the town. 

Expecting too much in one case, and doing too little 
in another, they were at the end visited by a natural 
punishment from both. They forgot the great rule of 
the Gospel : " This ought ye to have done, and not to 
have left the other undone." They had no idea that 
any needy, seedy missionary family at the West, could 
receive a gift-box of clothing from them without writing 
a most melting letter of thanks for it — a letter that would 
stir up the emotional feeling of all the parish — a letter 
that would go into the religious newspapers, and stir up 
to emulation a great many other religious sewing societies 
throughout the country. They expected more would 
be said and done about that box of clothing altogether 
than the real value of twenty such boxes. And they 
seemed to forget that a poor and self-denying missionary 
could have the independence of mind to write a modest 
acknowledgment of their generosity, and even harbor 
the ivish to cover up from the eyes of the tvorld his necessity 



312 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

of charity ! They would publish it broad-cast over the 
land ; he would wish it a transaction between himself 
and them. 

Do we know our own hearts ? Do they not often lust 
within us to envy ? The shock to the Missionary Sew- 
ing Society of Crampton by this letter of acknowledg- 
ment was very great indeed. 

Their efforts went now, for a considerable time, to 
the repairing of their own church. They raised a good 
sum of money by their industry, and appropriated it in 
that way till they accomplished their object, to the 
great satisfaction of the whole town. Crampton was 
regarded by the neighboring towns as a sort of model 
place for churches and sewing societies. It was a neat, 
handsome, well-ordered, business community and town. 
The church, especially, was a thing that everybody had 
a good word for ; and it seemed to pay for what was laid 
out on it. To all appearance, the Gospel declaration, 
" The poor ye have always with you," did not apply to 
Crampton. Indeed, had any one asked an active com- 
mon citizen of the town if there were many poor people 
in the place, he would probably have said, " No — almost 
none at all ;" meaning respectable poor people, of course. 
And perhaps he would not have known that in the poor- 
house of that town there were always to be found from 
ten to fifteen and twenty paupers, so utterly wretched 
and woe-begone that their condition, in common with 
the universal condition of paupers, led some, even among 
the high and wealthy, to tremble at the possibility of 
their own future poverty ; so forgotten, that the cast- 
off garments of even the common people were not 
thought of for them and given for their comfort ; so 
poorly nourished, wet, and cold in their leaky habita- 
tions and cheerless rooms, that they paid out of their 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOE-HOUSE. 313 

little class the heaviest per cent, of death in the town 
per annum — a community in want of every temporal 
mercy, for it had been stripped from them ; wanting 
spiritual light and consolation, for they were feeble and 
dispirited ; the remnants and relics of themselves ; the 
" vestiges of creation ;" the needy poor of the hedges 
and waysides these — would he have known all this? 
Had he seen, heard, thought of it ? Had he ever been 
there — ever taken it into his mind to go and inquire if 
there was a sufferer in the house of want to whom he, 
for Jesus' sake, could bring relief? Alas ! the paupers 
of New England linger near their last goal, few remem- 
bering them in their sad and deplorable state of absolute, 
unchangeable poverty. And surely poverty is an evil 
oft leading one to crime 1 

" Thou knowest what a thing is Poverty 
Among the fallen on evil days ; 
'Tis Crime, and Fear, and Infamy, 
And houseless Want, in frozen ways, 
Wandering ungarmented, and Pain, 
And, worse than all, that inward stain. 
Foul Self-contempt, which drowns in sneers 
Youth's starlight smile, and makes its tears 
First like hot gall, then dry forever !" — Shelley. 

Rosalind <^- Helen, p. 314, Hazard's ed.,Phila., 1856. 
****** 

" Homes there are, we are sure, that are no homes ; the home of the 
very poor." * * * 

" But what if there be no bread in the cupboard i" * * « 
" The children of the very poor do not prattle." 

Charles Lamb's Essay of Elia, xii, p. 291-2. 

* * * * * * 

" Nothing in poverty so ill is borne 
As its exposing men to grinning scorn." 
Boswell's Johnson, p. 28, Bond's ed., Bait., Oldham's imi. of Juv. 

* * * * * * • 

14 



814 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

"Extreme and abject poverty is, vice excepted, the most deplorable 

condition of human nature." 
Harriet Lek's Canterbury Tales, " Clandine," vol. ii., Mason Bro.'s ed. 
# « # # # * 

" The consequence of poverty is dependence." — Web. 

" ' Pauper' — A poor person ; particularly, one so indigent as to depend 
on the parish or town for maintenance. * * The in- 
crease of pauperism is an alarming evil." — Ibid, 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 315 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

Abraham Bacon and Mrs. Bacon, Mr. and Mrs. Siddleton — actors all, in the grand 
Pauper Drama, representing Shrewdness, Profit, Speculation, Genius, Morality 
and Religion. 

Father Time with his light, quick tread, passed along 
over Crampton five successive summers, and James 
Sherman, a tall grown, handsome, self-possessed youth, 
borne by him through every difficulty, and guarded by 
the same scythe that had been the scourge and death of 
others, was now entered a student at Yale College. He 
was nearly seventeen years of age, and had long since, 
under the kind tuition of his guardians, the Rodmans, 
got far out of the slough of ignorance and pauperism. 

Five years flow quickly by with some ; they linger on 
with others, and make deep furrows and strong points 
in society every where. In Crampton it was so. Mrs. 
Phillips was no more, and her stricken husband was a 
sufferer from acute rheumatism, though living at home 
still with one of his married daughters. Mr. and Mrs. 
Shire had removed from town ; Squire Ben was grown 
more corpulent and more fond of ale ; Savage more and 
more keen for trade and speculation. Indeed he was 
now rather heavy on the grand list, and grumbled sorely 
at the taxes. Long since. Captain Bunco had lost the 
poor-house, lost his property, lost one of his eyes, was 
half incapacitated for labor, and lived with his blind 
daughter Henrietta, in a low, rude cottage, attached to 
which there was a small garden, the rent of all, ten dol- 



316 NEW England's chattels ; or. 

lars a year. Henrietta could knit, and ^yash, as well as 
do a little sewing. Her father v,-as often intoxicated 
and helpless. They received some help from the select- 
men of the town, and it was expected would soon be 
thrown entirely on it as paupers 1 Of the old paupers 
there yet survived aunt Prescott, Mag Davis, Tucker, 
Roxy, Dan and Bill. All the others had gone to their 
long rest, besides many new ones received during this 
period. Mr. and Mrs. Haddock and all their family re- 
mained. Miss Flush was yet as busy as ever in her 
public enterprises, although she had declined, for the 
first time in seven years, at the last annual meeting of 
the ladies' sewing society, the post of president in that 
association. The office was filled by the appointment 
of Mrs. Smith. 

Both Mr. and Mrs. Boyce had paid the debt of nature, 
and rested side by side in the village church-j^ard, their 
graves identified by two marble slabs, procured for them 
by their friends, and Alice was now a sweet girl of 
twelve, the adopted daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Rodman. 

The paupers of the place were as numerous as ever, 
and fored about as well as when we last knew them. 
They had been from under Captain Bunce's care more 
than four years. Two years Mr. Abraham Bacon had 
them. Mr. Bacon seldom furnished them with fresh 
ham ; although he flourished a surname that indicated 
an ample supply of that delicious sort of provision. 
" Abraham" was his affix, or appendage to " Bacon," 
that came up at his christening a good while ago. He 
was so called not from any positive indications that he 
was an especial favorite of heaven, or would be a prince 
in the land, but because it had a good sound to it, was 
the antecedent initial letter to B — Bacon, and might 
have a pious bearing on him from its historical promi- 
nence. 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOTJSE. 317 

But Abraham Bacon in his maturity was less an ob- 
ject of love and attraction than Abraham Bacon in his 
infancy and early youth. 

In size the man was short, though broad shouldered, 
thick and heavy all over, a man good for an hundred 
and eighty pounds. His face was of a deep red color, 
such at all times, as some men carry when violently 
angry ; features large, with swollen furrows in his 
cheeks and around his huge mouth and blunt, old-fash- 
ioned sort of nose. Two moles marked his left cheek, 
and a scar his right. Altogether Mr. Bacon was a 
specimen-man of toughness and energy, fond of cider, 
not averse to roast beef. He possessed very little edu- 
cation, and in refinement had made almost no progress 
in a life of fifty years I He was a shrewd, close-calcula- 
ting man of business. 

In a sharp rivalry with one or two competitors for 
these loaves and fishes of the town, when Captain Bunco 
lost them, Abraham, by a little diplomatic shrewdness, 
got the bid, and the paupers went into his quarters for 
the space of two years. 

These " quarters" constituted one of his claims to the 
care of the poor. Abraham put in the following de- 
scription of his premises — " A large two-story house, 
forty by twenty-eight feet, with ten rooms, besides 
ample garret room and cellar. A long wing, slightly 
disconnected with the main building, twenty by fifty 
feet, water-tight, and capable of good ventilation, used 
formerly for pork packing, boiling food for cattle, and 
so forth, but now in good order for comfortably housing 
the paupers. Will accommodate above and below 
twenty-five persons very happily." 

Mr. Bacon got the contract to keep them one year 
for six hundred dollars ; and as soon as it was conve- 



318 NEW England's chattels ; ob, 

nient, they were removed there — some walking, others 
taken in a cart and the long wagon. They carried all 
their effects in the first exodus — these consisting of very 
little other than what they had on, or what each tied up 
in an old handkerchief, or rolled together in a paper. 
The women went in black and white straw bonnets, of 
faded, and much worn, and very dingy appearance — 
wide, flaring styles, of past, forgotten years. They were 
dressed in short-waisted kersey frocks, or tattered cheap 
calico, loosely hooked together, and unevenly at that, 
gaping in front and behind, loose and flapping at the 
neck. Ragged quilts hung down below the skirt, and a 
very great figure of shabbiness they made altogether. 
The men, in slouching, torn, indented hats of every pos- 
sible old fashion — in coats torn and seedy and yawning, 
too large and too small, vests and pants too short and 
too long, faded, worn, and soiled, with open necks, and 
dirty shirts accompanied them, some with and others 
without shoes. This outre company made land at pious 
Abraham's one morning, the first week in October, be- 
fore ten o'clock, and were ushered into and introduced 
to their new quarters. 

The long wing to the main house, " slightly discon- 
nected," was in reality apart from it only about three 
feet ; and a door opened from it on the end to the 
kitchen of the other building. It was divided into two 
main apartments. In the one there were from three to 
five straw beds for the females — two of them on bed- 
steads, the others on the floor. The other room con- 
tained two bedsteads, with straw beds, for the men, and 
a stairway leading to a low, dark chamber under the 
roof, where an indefinite number of persons might lie 
on the floor. This was the eating-room — also the kitchen 
and sitting-room of the establishment. These were the 
accommodations proper for the paupers. 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 319 

Much better than none at all, it mtist be confessed, 
they were. Aunt Dodge would not have frozen to 
death if she could have got to her quarters. But if we 
consider that these poor and feeble folks were, some of 
them, persons reared in the lap of comfort, and accus- 
tomed to the sacredness of home — the females, especially, 
entertaining notions of delicacy, and personal protection 
from rudeness and vulgarity ; if we remember their 
helplessness and need of indulgences, we shall be led to 
believe that this old pork-house of Abraham Bacon, 
with only one slender partition, one large fire-place, no 
carpets, no curtains except newspapers pinned up as 
temporary shades, without soft beds or chairs, low and 
crowded, the good and bad together — that this place, I 
say, must be a poor place for happiness ; a poor place 
for daily joy, for nightly pains, for sickness, weakness, 
decrepitude and death. 

But how could they remedy it ? What voice had tliey 
in the condition of life they were to lead ? 

They had no voice in it but that of entreaty or com- 
plaint — a voice that might be answered with insult or 
with renewed rigor of treatment. The paupers must 
submit. They OAvn nothing. Every thing is a gratu- 
ity. Live while they can — die when they must ; but 
let them not dictate ! 

They cannot choose their own masters or keepers. 
It is possible that among them there is one who was 
himself once an overseer of the poor. But it makes no 
difference ; he must come into the same treatment with 
the others. The rule works evenly and well for all. 

Why should not the vision of the poor-house rise in 
dreadful terror on the souls of all men and women in 
the North exposed to that tide of fortune which makes 
one a pauper ? That the old rural poor-house was and 
is a frig::t'ul reality, we dare not deny. 



320 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

Mr. Haddock resided four miles from Bacon's, and Mr. 
Phillips about two. His house was quite on the east 
side of the parish, among the hills. His farm was a 
rather hilly, hard piece of land for cultivation, but good 
for grazing, and, in consequence, he was in the habit of 
raising considerable stock for market. 

The paupers could drive his cattle to pasture, help 
repair fences, milk the cows, feed the stock, and so forth. 
They were likewise able to do a little hoeing in the corn- 
field, weeding in the garden, coarse sewing in the house, 
washing of dishes, mopping and scouring. Mr. Bacon 
thus calculated a good twenty per cent, profit on their 
necessary expenses. He went over the figures a good 
many times before he ventured to undertake the risk. 
One of his papers preserved read as follows : 

Use of apartments, pork room and garret, per year, saj, $ 10.00 
Cost of apparel per j-ear for each one, say 15, each $2. is, 30.00 
(Note. — Apparel, shoes, &c., cast-off articles.) 
" " fuel per year, say brush-wood and rotten stumps, &c., 5.00 
" " " " '■ to cook for them extra, possible, . . 2.00 
" " extra clothing, fixings, nursing, and the like in sick- 
ness, 3.00 

" " Doctor's bill, in all, per year, say, .... 5.00 

" " Sexton's, undertaker's, &c., in all. perhaps, a year, 
{Note. — Must expect a good many to die off. But 
there's a positive gain in this, in the matter of sup- 
port, so say,) ........ 15.00 

'' '' paupers who stray off into other poor-houses and no- 
tice given me, ........ 10.00 

" " provisions, say 15 persons in all, §2 ner week, 52 

weeks O ^2, ' . . . 104.00 

" " furniture, say, in all, 10.00 

" " extra help to take care of them, .... 10.00 

204.00 
Trouble to my wife in taking care of them, . . ^100.00 

•• myself " " " " " . . 300.00 400.00 

Total, . . §604.00 

Deduct 20 per cent, for their labor from expenses, . . 40.08 

Whole expenses ^564.92 



LIFE IN THE NOKTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 321 

Abraham concluded on the whole that, saying nothing 
of the four hundred dollars to himself and wife for their 
salary in the great and necessary vocation of taking care 
of them, he could stand it with twenty per cent, on their 
earnings. This he determined on, or he would take it 
out of their rations. This seems to have been the inten- 
tion of their keepers generally. If they found the pau- 
pers, i.' e., some of them, strong enough to earn some ten 
or twenty per cent, of the whole cost, they would con- 
tinue their meals as usual, viz., beans and cheap pork 
one day in seven, bean soup and bread and cider one 
day, cider each day, (if needed,) salt prime beef one day, 
warmed bones and grizzle one day, and crusts of brown 
and white bread from the house ; Friday, hard codfish, 
or number three rusty mackerel ; Saturday, neck pieces 
of beef, or liver, pickings of the last days, and in summer 
occasional luxuries of greens and vegetables ; cheap tea, 
Vv-ithout cream or sugar, was given them at Abraham's. 
This was about the general bill of fare. Of course no- 
body could be expected to starve on it if he could relish 
the bill. But, we say again, if the paupers were not 
helpful and saving by their manual labors, their rations 
were cut down to a point where the proprietor could 
feel himself safe. He did not take them to lose money. 
He was not expected by the town to feed and pamper 
them as he would pigs and fine stock for market ! They 
were only broken-down human creatures, who, even at 
the best, would stay with us but a little time, and the 
whole of that time be to us only a bill of expense. Why 
endeavor to lengthen out life under these conditions ? 

Madam Bacon stands out to view as one of those ever- 
busy, all-work sort of Yankee women each of us has seen 
und read of a hundred times. Sh(i was a smallish body, 
firmly put together, her arms as h ird and solid as bed- 

14* 



322 NEW England's chattels ; oe, 

posts, her figure, though slight to the view, having a de- 
cided appearance of elasticity and vigor. In fact, there 
did not seem to be a weak, or faint spot in her. She 
loved work ; she loved the broom, the needle, the loom, 
the axe, the hoe, the coffee-mill, the dinner-kettle, the 
tea-kettle, the oven, the fire-place, the brasses, the car- 
pets, the "windows, the milk pails, the milk room, the 
churn, the cheese press, fowls, calves, lambs, bees, geese, 
dogs, cattle, swine, horses, company, visiting, talking, 
trading, buying, selling, and laying up money against a 
wet day. What ! a " wet day" for Madam Bacon ? Im- 
possible ! Well, that was her way of talking. 

It is evident that such a smart, energetic creature as 
Madam Bacon must, of course, be well fitted to have 
the care of our friends, the paupers, and that she, if any 
body, would be able to draw out their energies in a way 
that would secure at least the aforesaid twenty per 
cent. And we must say, she was not wanting in this 
respect. She was out and in among them all day long, 
and evening too, from five o'clock till nine or ten ; and 
it was a very rare thing indeed to see one of them who 
could work idle. 

Here was the widow Prescott knitting, or heeling and 
darning stockings or old clothes, or again picking over 
beans, dried apples, rags, or dampening clothes to iron. 
Here was Mag Davis winding yarn, getting ready the 
dinner, scrubbing, night and morning milking "Aer coiv,^' 
as the mooley was facetiously called ; Roxy ditto, and 
making beds for Madam Bacon. Mrs. Jane Huggins, with 
her two or three little children, was making rags for a 
carpet, or mending pants, vests, and coats for the pau- 
pers. Molly Weaknis was scouring knives, or brushing 
the rooms. In the fall of the year, all hands often 
passed the evenings and part of the day paring, quar 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 323 

tering, and stringing apples to dry for market. During 
the day the men worked at the cider-press ; in hay time 
they assisted in making and securing hay ; and so in 
harvest time they bound up sheaves ; they planted, 
hoed, and gathered corn and potatoes. Men and women 
often worked in the garden, and kept it free from weeds. 
More than half the whole number could do some work — 
perhaps full three-fourths — and a good many were able 
to work more or less vigorously all day. No good far- 
mer would give one of them the full price of a vigorous 
day-laborer for his help ; but some could earn a good 
twenty per cent., to say the least, on the cost of the 
whole. Abraham was sure of that ; and so was his 
wife. 

Nothing was truer, as Mr. Haddock, Mr. Phillips, and 
Mr. Rodman said, from Mr. Bacon's success, than that 
the paupers could, under more advantageous circum- 
stances, earn the whole cost of their support, and be 
every way better taken care of, and happier. And 
they brought the subject to the notice of the town, and 
argued it repeatedly. They even offered to be respon- 
sible for the results ; but the time had not come. Their 
propositions were not received. 

Abraham, as we have said, had them in charge two 
years. He had made all the necessary arrangements to 
take them a third, when he was most unexpectedly 
under-bid by a close-calculating, rummy sort of a man 
over in the south-east part of the town — a man in 
rather embarrassed circumstances, but a great swag- 
gerer, and particularly strenuous for the paupers, be- 
ing a merciful and humane manager. This man was 
Jacob Siddleton ; and as he had but a small house for 
his own family, and still smaller for the new comers, 
they lived, while in his hands, stowed away in poorly- 



324 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

ventilated rooms, and in a very damp, unwholesome, 
and inconvenient way altogether. Neither Mr. nor 
Mrs. Siddleton cared to set them about any work, 
except to mend and wash their own clothes, cut and 
burn their fuel, and prepare their owm meals. These, 
even, were sometimes performed under embarrassments 
and difficulties, as the Israelites in Egypt once expe- 
rienced difficulty in the tale of bricks. At Siddleton's 
six of the paupers died. Some w^ere down with the 
scurvy a part of the time, and all of them grew lifeless 
and wan while there. 

Mr. and Mrs. Siddleton's' great and merciful design 
was to keep them as quiet as possible. Mrs. Siddleton 
sometimes sat dow^n among them and showed them pic- 
tures, and read little stories for their amusement. Again, 
she would show them her cast-off caps, and frocks, and 
trinkets of various hues and fashions, and talk of other 
days, and of what she and Mr. Siddleton were going to 
do when they w^ere rich. When any of them were sick 
she prepared water gruel, and catnip and motherwort 
and elderberry tea for them ; and if they were hurt she 
melted tallow and rubbed it on the wounds, advising 
them always to moderate their diet, to eat simple food, 
never to crowd the stomach, and only to allow them- 
selves the use of nourishing food. 

Notwithstanding all these particulars, they were never 
a very lively and happy company ; and they frequently 
felt the gnawings of hunger. They desired changes of 
raiment and more comfortable rooms. But Mrs. Siddle- 
ton told them the Saviour of sinners, when on earth, 
had not where to lay His head ; and they must allow 
that they were in a far more desirable condition than 
he "was ; and that as to raiment, the same Saviour had 
said, " Take no thought for the body what ye shall put 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 325 

on." " The world," said she, " is all gone mad after 
fashions and expensive clothing. It is a real shame and 
disgrace to this Christian age, that so much extrava- 
gance is practiced by ladies and gentlemen ; it makes 
no difference whether rich or poor, white or black. Ifc 
is only yesterday I saw a smart-looking, elegantly-dressed 
colored girl, swinging and tiptoeing along to church, 
dressed in expensive moire antique silk, of a very high 
and splendid color ; and directly after another colored 
girl, with a modern summer ivliite-fringed cape, and her 
companion with one of our fashionable cheap grey 
dusters. Thus they go — all following Fashion, wherever 
she leads the way. Now it is better to appear dressed 
in poor clothing as a rebuke of the age in which we live 
— and it is especially commendable in the poor, to feel 
contented with their lot, and to avoid all useless repin- 
ings at the appointments of Divine Providence !" 

In this truly judicious and practical Christian way, 
with attentions given to the spiritual rather than to the 
merely physical, perishing, and temporal nature of 
things, Mrs. Siddleton daily held communications with 
the paupers that were under her roof. She gave them 
line upon line, precept upon precept, and evinced a 
very intimate knowledge of the Word of Truth ; and 
so she was regarded in town as a very exemplary, wise, 
and Christian guardian for the poor folks. But they, 
the paupers, while they heard her instructions, and 
received into their minds the comforting words of 
Scripture, which she, again and again, informed them 
were for their special support and consolation — " to 
the poor the Gospel is preached " — found themselves 
often condoling in heart with unhappy " Esau, who, for 
one morsel of meat, sold his hirthriglit !" 



326 NEW England's chattels: or, 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

The Paupers at Auction. To many a one there is a charm in the very sound of 
the word " Auction." And so at auction decent people often buy those goods 
they neither need nor really desire. But they find a comfort in having bought 
them " low — at auction !" Much good may they do them. Rag, Tag and Bob- 
tail, are often bolted off with Good, Better, Best, at the Sales : so one bids off 
the former for the sake of the latter. AVhen one takes lot All of the Town's 
Chattels, he of course takes the good and the bad. Contrary to the usual flotion, 
however, the good paupers in such a trade are, the weak-ready-to-die-off class ; 
the bad, the healthy, strong, good-livers ! Kind Providence ! save thou us and 
ours from this block. 

Early in the fall every year there is held the public, 
or town-meeting, to hear the report of the selectmen, 
and of all the other oiEcers of the town. Then also, ac- 
counts are examined, new officers are elected, money is 
appropriated, a customary tax is voted for the expenses 
of the year, and all other business is done that circum- 
stances seem to call for. Such a meeting came off in 
Crampton. 

Esq. Ben Stout was appointed moderator of the meet- 
ing, an office he would not have failed of for the best 
coat he ever wore, one of which he was always sure 
when party lines run at all close, but w4iich he some- 
times declined, after having been appointed, for the 
gratification of some personal friend. On the present 
occasion the Squire said that he would willingly serve 
the town as chairman, for he had so long been made to 
occupy that position, one ever gratifying to his ambi- 
tion, that he probably knew as well as — most — men — 
(not all) among them what was wanted, and doing, he 



LIFE IN THE NORTHEEN POOR-HOUSE. 327 

could — he — presumed, facilitate the business before the 
public, and so procure an early adjournment. But he 
regretted to say it — he said it with reluctance — lie 
ivas groicing old ! His sight, his hearing, his activity, 
were not as formerly. He regretted to say these things. 
It was much to the mortification of his mind — anxious 
as he was " to serve and oblige his fellow-citizens." The 
people all looked straight at him. Most of them had 
their hats on, and were standing in groups upon the 
floor of the Town Hall. Some of them were aged, gray- 
haired men ; lame and feeble others ; a large portion 
men of middle age, strong and healthy. The^ looked, we 
say, straight at him. Then they looked at each other, 
and some renewed their tobacco ; others passed round 
their snuff-boxes. A few whispered and smiled, and 
said — " The old Squire isn't going to give it up, is he?" 

" Oh ! no, ha ! ha ! He's on the old track now !" 

" He'll come up directly," said one. 

The people kept quiet, looking straight at him, as we 
have already said twice. 

The Squire at this point took snuff from Charles 
Caldwell, Esq.'s box, kindly held out, and concluded as 
follows : 

" But — my fellow townsmen — Qieiglio !) it has never 
been my way of life to cringe for a little pain, or to shirk 
off responsibility. If, in the judgment of my fellow citi- 
zens who have given me their flattering suffrages, not 
only as their chairman and moderator of this meeting, 
but often as their representative in the legislative halls 
of the State — if, I repeat it, they in their judgment deem 
me yet serviceable to them " 

" I told you so," said the speaker just referred to. 

" Oh, ycft," said the first speaker ; " the Squire is 
always ' this side up.' " 



328 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" He is on the gaining tack now you see," said the 
second speaker. 

" And especially if they demand it by their vote, I 
will wave my own preferences and most heartfelt desires, 
and to the best of my abilities serve them noio and as 
long as I live /" 

A tremendous " hurrah !" followed this extraordinary 
good hit of the Squire's, and that gentleman never be- 
fore entered on a public duty of this nature with a more 
decidedly genuine feeling of personal gratification. 

The Squire called for the reading of the town records 
of last meeting, then in order called up the other busi- 
ness — the reports of selectmen, overseers of the poor, 
town listers, grand jury reports, school society's report, 
and listened to debates on this, that, and the other mat- 
ter, as they were ofi'ered, with a clear head and an im- 
partial mind, presiding as usual with dignity and firmness. 

But as we are mainly interested in the affairs of the 
paupers, we shall not particularize on any other part of 
the business than such as had a bearing on them — for 
example, the report of the overseer of the poor. 

This document was drawn up with some care, and 
signed by Squire Ben Stout, first selectman of the town, 
and by Ezekiel Harris, second selectman. There was 
also a mmority report, signed by Erastus Corning, third 
selectman. The two documents were read. The former 
represented the whole number of actual paupers on the 
town during the year, for the -whole time or part of it, 
at twenty-one persons, and beside these there were a 
few individuals, in a state of necessity or dependence, 
who required some assistance. There were three young 
children on the town, one an infant left by — somebody, 
and the town would be compelled to support it. The 
parents of the other children were very infirm and shift 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE.. 329 

less. The balance, of thirteen individuals, were adults, 
most of them aged. Of the whole number there had 
deceased during the year but six individuals, which 
might be considered extraordinary when their diseased 
and weakened physical state was remembered, were, if 
not in a great measure accounted for by the fact of their 
very merciful and humane treatment, especially on the 
part of Mrs. Siddleton, who seemed to have done all that 
a pious matron could do to render the unfortunate poor of 
the town comfortable and happy. And the report con- 
cluded with a resolution of the two overseers above 
named, recommending the town to confide the care of 
them still to the same hands, in case nobody else made 
better terms I 

This report was received. But it was severely criti- 
cised and cut up by Squire Ketchum of the town, who 
had been quite a thorn of late years in the sides of the 
old management of the paupers. Between him and Law- 
yer Tools there was a good deal of sparring. Mr. Had- 
dock also referred to some of the cases reported as de- 
ceased during the year, and inquired if there had been 
" five dollars spent for medical advice and assistance for 
the whole of them ?" He knew one of the paupers to 
have actually died of starvation in his room, being un- 
willing to come down — a young man of ruined property 
and character, mortified, sick, and half-deranged by his 
position, he shut himself in his room — " and I Ttnow^^ 
said Haddock, with tremendous energy, " that Mr. and 
Mrs. Siddleton did not send for a doctor, nor for any as- 
sistance whatever in his case, but they said, ' if he will 
make a fool of himself, and not eat when he can, let him 
starve.' And, sir, starve he did. He was found in a 
feeble and dying state by Mr. Corning, your third select- 
man, when on a visit to the poor-house, and who was 



330 ^ NEW England's chattels ; or, 

compelled to burst open his d/ or before he could reach 
him, no difficult matter it is true, for the door was huns: 
on leather hinges, and fastened with a stick. This 
young man was, as you well know, left an orphan with 
a large estate ; and he spent it most lavishly among 
wild and dissipated companions, till want and absolute 
penury compelled him to beg for bread — and among the 
dead of our poor the past year is this young man, only 
twenty-eight years of age, ruined, forsaken, left to 
starve."* 

A dozen men started for " the floor." 

" Mr. Siddleton has the floor 1" cried the chairman. 
Now, Mr. Siddleton was not a very smooth speaker, 
because he had not received the advantages of early 
education as Mr. Haddock evidently had. But he was 
a very earnest, decided man, and could make as long a 
talk as any body. In the present instance " he hoped," 
he said, " that the majority's report would be put right 
through and through, for it was a first rate town-paper 
any way. And it didn't find unnecessary fault with 
folks neither. It was a considerate document, signed by 
Squire Stout and Mr. Harris, men he reckoned who 
knew which way to look for Sunday. He guess'd the 
whole town thought so too ! As for starving Bill Scud- 
der, that was all a regular piece of hunkerism ! Bill 
was as fat when he died as a hog. He got wilful, re- 

* We copy tlie following, as we found it, from the Fremont Journal, Ohio, April 
10, 1857.— Author. 

" A Warning to Fast Young Mek. — John Miller, aged twenty-eight years, 
died at Indianapolis on Friday. The Journal gives a brief history of his sad 
career : He was born in Dayton, Ohio, left an orphan with a large estate, and to 
bis own guidance— became a ' fast young man,' and rapidly spent a fortune which 
was counted by tens of thousands. He kept a circle of dashing young fellows about 
him until his money was gone, who then deserted and left him. He sought Indi- 
anapolis as a home, and there in some menial capacity, lived for a time, and died 
in a strange garret, friendless and alone. — Fremont Journal, April 10, 1857." 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 331 

fused to eat ; we carried food to his door ; we called 
him down, but the young scamp got mortified and sort 
of crazy — and, your honor — what could a body do ? For 
my part I was glad when the poor fellow died, because 
he just grew worse and worse^ and he didn't want to live 
any longer any how. And that's all, your honor, there 
is about starving any body !" 

Lawyer Tools got the floor. This gentleman said he 
didn't rise to make a speech, but simply to say that the 
town poor always made more fuss in their annual meet- 
ing than every and all other things combined. He 
hoped that some gentlemen who loved to make capital 
out of the subject and to roll up votes for their political 
party, would make as much as they possibly could out 
of this " starving case," (ha ! ha !) for it was not likely 
they would soon have any thing quite as good to work 
at. {Applause.) One thing he especially desired, viz. : 
that these " croakers," he called them, should bid off 
the poor for themselves, and just keep them for a year 
or two as they thought others should ; then, he thought 
they could better give advice and more justly find 
fault." 

" Just so !" " Good !" " Give it to 'urn. Tools !" went 
round the hall. 

Then the justice said, " Order, gentlemen — please 
come to order. Mr. Ketchum has the floor." 

Lawyer Ketchum said he was always emulous of 
every good thing he ever saw in his brother Tools ; 
and so, like him, would preface his remarks by saying 
he did not rise to make a speech. He would simply 
say that the town poor always would be a bone of con- 
tention to the town until they were disposed of in a 
proper manner. They were human beings, and required 
humane and proper attention. They did not usually 



332 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

receive it, as he believed, nor would they be apt to un- 
der the present system of locating them. They wanted 
more attention to their common daily little ills and dis- 
comforts, good nursing, some medical attention, good 
shelter, warm rooms, clean and respectable garments — " 

" Take them yourself," cried a voice in the crowd. 

" Let Haddock take them," said another. 

" Order, gentlemen^' said the moderator. 

" I should like to ask the gentleman," said Lawyer 
Tools, " if he would consent to have the care of these 
people, and do for them what he proposes for others to 
do, for even eight hundred dollars a year 1" 

" Good !" " Go it. Tools !" exclaimed voices. 

" In reply to brother Tool's inquiry," said Mr. Ketch- 
um, " I have to answer, that as I am not a married man 
yet, following as usual the example of my elder brother 
in the profession " 

" Good ! Hurrah for Ketchum and Tools !" cried the 
whole house. 

" Regular old bachelors !" said some. 

" Genuine stuff, those chaps !" said others — " ha ! ha 1 
ha!" 

" I couldn't, Mr. Moderator, under these circum- 
stances, make the engagement proposed. But further, 
it is a little out of my usual line of business, let the case 
be as it might ; and then, again, and decidedly, it ivould 
violate all my principles to take them at any price /" 

" Good !" said Mr. Haddock and his friends. 

(Coughing, stamping, and some hissing on the otbei 
side.) 

" Order, gentlemen .'" said the moderator, looking over 
his spectacles. 

Much opposition to the reading of the minority report 
was made, and with diflSculty it was got in. Finally it 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 333 

was read, but it went no furtlier. It represented the 
poor as suffering many privations and much needless 
humiliation as they were now kept, and recommended 
that the town adopt the new system of purchasing a town 
farm, and placing the poor there, as in a comfortable 
and respectable home, where all due attention would be 
paid to their wants, and the town delivered from the 
ignominy of selling them as so many worthless slaves at 
auction — actually to the lowest bidder / 

Mr. Haddock moved to accept the report. Mr. Phil- 
lips seconded the motion. The moderator put it to 
vote, and it was voted not to accept, by a very large 
majority. 

By-and-bye the question came up for the disposal of 
the poor for the ensuing year. 

Many persons were in favor of Mr. Siddleton having 
them at six hundred dollars. Mr. Siddleton said he 
would take them at that, although he couldn't afford it. 
His wife and he labored for their good from morning 
till night, and he really thought that Mrs. Siddleton's 
health was seriously affected by her great attention to 
their temporal and spiritual comfort. 

There were other bidders, however. 

" Six hundred dollars ! gentlemen, is Mr. Siddleton's 
offer. He will take the paupers and give them suitable 
provision for a year for six hundred dollars ! Six hun- 
dred dollars for the town paupers for one year, going !• 
Does any body say less than six hundred .'"' 

" Five hundred and seventy-five T said Abraham Bacon. 

" Whew ! — you," said Siddleton. " Whew, man ! you 
cant " (Now Bacon was known by his skillful man- 
agement to have made out of his two years' contract a 
thousand dollars !) 

" Gentlemen," said the moderator, '•' we have a bid 



334 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

from another responsible man — of five hundred and 
seventy-five dollars — Mr. Abraham Bacon — knows all 
about it — ^five hundred seventy-five, going f Now's your 
chance, Siddleton ; can't be helped ; the town paupers 
of Crampton for one year^^^i^e hundred seventy-five " 

" Seventy /" cried Siddleton in desperation — (Siddle- 
ton Avas known to have lost money by his contract.) — 
The people stared ! 

" Sixty five /" said Bacon. 

" Sixty /" said John Stoddard. 

" rive hundred and sixty dollars 1 ha ! ha !" said the 
moderator. " Doivn they go ! What's a loss to 3'ou, 
gentlemen, is gain to us, ha ! ha ! ha !" and every body 
shouted — (no 1 some there w^ere who could not shout — 
"ha! ha! ha!") 

" Five hundred and fifty-five !" said Siddleton. 

" Five hundred and fifty," quickly retorted John Stod- 
dard — and as every body refused to go below him, John 
Stoddard got the contract. 

This individual was a lame, and a rather significant 
looking piece of humanity, walking always with a stafi", 
and using constantly a good deal of tobacco ; but there 
was a sharp twinkle to his little left eye, that spoke 
more than words, and volumes of books, about his true 
character. It seemed to say, " Now, I've thought this 
thing over myself — eh ? Didn't think of that, did ye, eh ? 
It's all put dowm in black and white, dollar for dollar, 
dime for dime, penny for penny, eh ? Did you know 
that, say ? Don't be uneasy. We've got our thumb on 
it, and it's there, eh ? Did you know that, hey ?" He 
was a remarkably close calculating and shrewd man. — 
He was never known to have made a poor bargain. He 
always appeared to come oflf best in all his trades, even 
in his pious ones, for though John always bid off a high 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 335 

priced slip in church, and seemed to be shifting his 
ground and looking towards the benevolent and easy' 
side of things, i. e., spending money rather too freely — 
he was shrewd enough to know that he could always 
rent or sell such a slip at a good profit ; that half or two- 
thirds of it would rent to some body who wanted a smart 
slip, for very nearly the cost of the whole, and so he at 
the very smallest cost maintain a high stand in the sanc- 
tuary. He went to the town-meeting with his mind 
made up to bid in the paupers at any sum over five hun- 
dred dollars — and so he made fifty dollars on the specu- 
lation at the outset. 

Mr. Siddleton ivas vexed. He was galled. He knew 
that he lost money last year, but he had determined to 
recover it this. (The paupers did not know of that de- 
termination, poor souls !) Mr. Siddleton knew that his 
wife would feel bitterly disappointed. She wanted to 
do more for them than ever. Her attention had been 
fully aroused to their spiritual wants ; so many of them 
necessarily die off every year, she intended to be more 
faithful to them for the year to come, and endeavor to 
eradicate from their minds and hearts all love of the 
world, its passing and vain shows, its fashions, pleasures, 
indulgences and desires. He knew that she proposed 
to follow up vigorously a course of instruction in these 
matters that would eminently fit them to die, no matter 
how soon, and Mr. Siddleton thought he had good and 
just occasion to feel bad. 

So he went among the people and made several insinu- 
ations that if they meant anything — meant that in his 
opinion John Stoddard was a hard case, and just about 
no man at all. There were some who thought so too ; 
while there were these who had the good sense to be- 
lieve that the paupers would be as well off with Stod- 



336 NEW England's chattels ; oe, 

dard as with Siddleton. Mr, Siddleton didn't know 
these- latter sentiments, and so he continued to express 
his opinions as freely as at the first. 

There Avere several persons who stood as ready as 
Siddleton to bid on the paupers at six hundred, or at 
seven hundred dollars, and these of course thought, if it 
was not folly in John Stoddard to bid them in at five 
hundred and fifty dollars, it would have been in them. 
He himself, shrewd as he was known to be, was rather 
reg-aided as " sold," and a good many told him so ; but 
every. body neticed a decided twinkling of Johnnie's 
little eye whenever the thing was cast at him, and they 
began to think he had something in the wind that every 
body didn't exactly comprehend. 

After a time, Siddleton and Stoddard happened to fall 
in with each other as they were walking here and there 
in the hall and in front of it, and Siddleton slapping 
him on the shoulder said, " Well, you've got a tough job 
of it, neighbor Stoddard I I'm good on that in a bet of 
one hundred dollars ; ha ! ha ! ha I" and Siddleton shook 
the bank bills in his face. 

" I dare say it's a tough one, neighbor Siddleton ; you 
found it so, now didn't ye, eh ?" 

" Yes, blast me if I didn't ! I'm mighty glad the 
stuff's off my hands — it'll go hard with you, Stoddard ; 
come, plank us a hundred on a bet of that — eh ?" 

" Oh, I don't want to lose money too fast, neighbor 
Siddleton. My money comes too hard for that. Now, 
with your experience you know it'S perfectly safe to bet 
a hundred dollars ! You know I shall lose it, so what's 
the use, eh ?" and twinkle went the little eye. 

" Ay I ay ! I see where you'd hide, old fellow ; plank 
the money if you dare." 

" Oh, no, I guess not, Siddleton." 



LIFE IN THE NOKTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 337 

" Try him, try him," said Lawyer Tools. 

" No, I guess not. You see it's a tough, tight squeeze 
to make any thing at best." 

" And be humane and merciful," said Siddleton. 

" That's it exactly," said Stoddard ; " it's too bad to 
bet on the poor devils, and to be under temptation to 
screw them if you don't come out good towards the end, 
eh? {Twinkle, twinkle.) 

" That's the best thing I have heard to-day," said 
Lawyer Ketchum to Mr. Haddock, standing by. 

" Well, it is a sensible matter-of-fact remark," replied 
that gentleman. 

" Then you dare'snt bet any how — there's a hundred," 
said Siddleton, throwing five twenty dollar bills on the 
table. Stoddard pulled out his well-filled pocket-book, 
deliberately opened it, and laying a hundred dollar note 
on the table, put the pocket-book, with a thousand un- 
touched dollars in it, back into his pocket. 

" There," said he, " if I don't make three hundred and 
fifty dollars out of this job and treat them as well as 
ever you did, in the opinion of the selectmen of Cramp- 
ton, you may have that — so put up your hundred dollars, 
Siddleton ; you may want them, and, Lawj^er Tools, just 
take care of that money till the year comes round, eh ? 
(Twinkle, flash and twinkle.) 

" Very well," said the lawyer, picking up the bill. 
The crowd fell back as Stoddard walked away, and Sid- 
dleton, ashamed and vexed, and discomfited, could hard- 
ly tell what to do or say. At length, as the people 
said, " take up the money, Siddleton ; he's neck or no- 
thing, you see, and if he fails you get the money." 

" Yes, but it wouldn't be very honorable to take it, I 
think, under just these circumstances." 

15 



338 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" A pretty good thought that, too," said Lawyer 
Ketchum to Mr. Haidock. 

" A very just one, a good, cool, second thought," he 
replied. 

"It's 'honorable' enough," said some one ; "if he's 
got himself into a scrape let him get out." 

" Yes," said another, " and he's underbid you and got 
away the job." 

" So he has !" said Siddleton, " I forgot that ;" and 
without more ado he put the money back into his 
purse. 

" Halloa there, Stoddard !" cried he, as he went out 
of the hall in front of the building, " come over early to- 
morrow morning — before breakfast if you can, and take 
off the c ! for they've cost me enough already." 

Mr. Stoddard, leaning on his staff, walked away to his 
wagon, backed out his two heavy horses, cramped the 
wheels to get into it by the aid of the step, and seating 
himself in an easy sort of a way, turned the heads of his 
five hundred dollar nags towards home. 

There was one man at this town-meeting, blind of one 
eye, lame, poorly dressed, and evidently in reduced 
worldly circumstances, who took no part in the debates, 
and said few words to any persons present — a man on 
the down-hill of life— none other than Captain Isaac 
Bunco. But who can help it — who protect himself 
against vicissitudes when it was long time ago said, and 
has been ever found in the experience and observation 
of many, to have been truly, thougli in a dead language 
said, " sic mundi, gloria transit .^" Never mind church 
members and widoAvs, and little boys and girls, nor the 
sick and aged. They all belong to the same class — the 
" sic mundi" class. Down with them. The lowest bid- 
der gets them How much ? Must he sold ! ! 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 339 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

The Ministers get hold of it. Let us see what they think. 

John Stoddard had been a close observer of the 
manner pursued bj Abraham Bacon with the paupers, 
and was satisfied that he could employ them still more 
profitably than that gentleman had done. He cultivated 
a good farm of soft, easy river land, and had gone con- 
siderably into the raising of garden seeds for market. 
It was work that required a good deal of attention and 
many hands, but was light, clean kind of work for the 
greater part — such as boys, girls, women, and feeble 
persons might do. There were the roots of the differ- 
ent vegetables to be set out in the spring, and after this 
the hoeing, weeding, and care of the growing shoots. 
There were also seeds of annual plants to be sown, and 
care used in their growth and ripening. In the fall 
there were gathered the seeds of carrots, parsnips, 
beets, and the like were thrashed out on the barn floor. 
Then came the winnowing processes and packing in 
barrels ; after which they were safely kept till a late 
period of the year, when the cold drove the people in 
doors. And what a busy and useful employment for all 
the paupers who were able to do any thing, to measure 
out and fill the little paper bags, previously prepared, 
with the seeds, especially for the little ragged children 
of the establishment ! 

In short, by labors of this kind, without materially 



340 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

altering the extei nal condition of the paupers, John 
Stoddard cleared on his seeds this year over a thousand 
dollars. Siddleton lost the expected hundred dollar 
note ; for Stoddard showed his bills and expenses, de- 
monstrating to everybody's conviction that he had fairly 
made on his poor-house contract three hundred and fifty 
dollars. 

The eyes of a good many people began to open about 
this time as to the advantage of a new poor-house sys- 
tem ; but for some years still the opposition to it de- 
feated every measure that was brought forward. Now 
there were enough money-loving persons in the town 
who wanted the help of the paupers in their different 
sorts of work — light work which they could do — and 
they would not let Israel go on this account. Said 
they, " If there is any money to be made out of the 
paupers, why give it to the town ? No ; we will make 
and keep it ourselves." 

The close of Stoddard's year marked the fifth year of 
James Sherman's removal from Captain Bunce's, and 
the period of his entering college. Four years from that 
time he graduated, acknowledged by his classmates 
among the highest of their class. It was a proud day 
for Mr. and Mrs. Rodman when he came forward at 
Commencement and delivered an earnest, soul-thrilling 
oration on the Injustice of Man to his Fellow-man, stating 
and arguing the principle, and proving all his points by 
references to the Scriptures, and by apt quotations from 
the writings of the great poets and philosophers. And 
there, too, sat Alice in her loveliness, now sixteen years 
of age, between whom and James there had been from 
childhood a spirit of sympathy, ripening and unfolding 
into the tender and absorbing emotion of love. How 
often have they pursued their studies together by the 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 341 

same evening lamp ! How often roved together by the 
brook-side, and along the green pasture, and threaded 
the mazes of the wood ! And older growing, and more 
fearful and tender and careful, how difficult it is to each 
to think or speak or move, without the consciousness 
that the other is affected by it ! The orphan Alice and 
the orphan James, in their peculiar station, could hardly 
fail of a deep interest in each other ; and as their char- 
acters developed rich veins of thought and principle, 
great love of truth, and extraordinary benevolence, their 
guardians were gratified to observe their mutual attach- 
ment. 

Mr. Rodman had ever cultivated in James a spirit of 
compassion towards the unfortunate — his own early his- 
tory, rising ever before his mind, being brought out to 
illustrate his meaning. James never ceased to feel the 
deepest interest in the welfare of the poor sufferers 
among whom his early life had been passed ; and Alice 
would sit hours listening to him as he portrayed the 
condition of her father and himself, and that of all the 
rest of the degraded and forgotten paupers. She could 
never fully realize, however, either her father's or her 
mother's trials. She did, indeed, just remember the 
dreadful shipwreck, and the long, cold, dark, and fearful 
walk in the snow the evening when a ragged boy met 
them, and guided them to the shelter of the poor-house. 

And so they gathered up in repeated conversations 
the history of their early life, and kept fresh in memory 
the miseries of those who were still in the house of 
poverty. 

" If I am ever able," said James, " I will make one 
person in that old poor-house company better off than 
she now is. I will put Mrs. Prescott in a better home. 
She is too ffood a saint to languish and die there." 



342 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" It would be a happiness," said Alice, " to relieve 
tlieni all." 

" Yes, indeed, and they will find relief yet. Lawyer 
Ketclmm tells me there is a growing interest in the 
subject, and that they hope to carry through the very 
next town-meeting a project of relief." 

" Well, won't that be fine, if they succeed ? Now, I 
do hope they will, don't you, James ?" 

" I do. Yes, it is a great injustice." 

" Oh, yes, James, I knew what you were thinking of 
when your oration came on. And a good, a grand 
speech it was too — and how every body listened — I saw 
the attention." 

" Ah, Alice, you hit me right in the face and eyes, see 
bow I color up ! It must have been a great speech, 
truly !" 

" It was the greatest speech that was made, and 
every body said so. I was as proud of you as I could 
be." 

" Now, Alice, you are just quizzing me ; I don't think 
it was a remarkable good oration any way. The subject 
of it, I know, is interesting to our minds ; but I think I 
never was so conscious before of failing to bring out 
ideas that were suited to the theme." 

" Dear me, James, I never saw so many ideas before 
put into so small a space, and the audience looked at 
you as though ready to devour both you and your 
words !" 

" Well, I declare, Alice, I won't say any thing more — 
you have completely blown me up, I am afraid unless 
you tie some bags of sand to me, that I shall sail away, 
a la balloon." 

" Oh ! dear. Well, you may go — sail away, balloon ! 
But I hope you will make a safe descent somewhere and 
brine: back the balloon." 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 343 

James was now entered as a student a+ law in Mr. 
Ketchum's office, and applied himself vigorously to his 
new studies. 

In the meantime, Mr. Rodman met with the clergy of 
his district and association, at their annual session for 
business, and by previous appointment read before them 
an essay on the subject of pauperism. The subject had 
been introduced, and once or twice warmly discussed 
before, and it had led many of the ministers to make in- 
quiry and look into the matter at home. These investi- 
gations always resulted in opening more clearly their 
minds to the abuses of the pauper system as the same 
was practiced among them. They saw that the paupers, 
fallen from what grade soever of society they might, 
were almost totally forgotten and neglected ; that they 
were an incumbrance to the town ; that they were in- 
humanly treated, and regarded as beyond the ordinary 
pale of Christian benevolence ; that on these accounts, 
the idea prevailed over the community that there was 
•nothing so dreadful as absolute poverty, necessitating 
one to receive the grudged charity of the town. 

Mr. Rodman, in his report to the ministers, said — 

" It was announced by the Saviour of the world that 
his coming to our earth was to seek and to save the lost. 
He made repeated allusions to the condition of poverty, 
drawing some of his most thrilling illustrations from it ; 
as of the poor woman and her offerings in the temple ; 
as of the beggar named Lazarus ; as of the impotent 
man at the pool Bethesda ; as of the occupants of the 
hedges and stragglers by the highway sides ; as of the 
sick and suffering in prison. And his own history 
teaches that he identified himself when here with the 
poor as a class, never seeking to be known as or called 
one of the great, noble, rich. His Gospel is an annun- 



344 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

ciation of mercy to the poor in spirit, and is a word of 
salvation for the rearing, elevating, ennobling, and bless- 
ing the poor and miserable beings of our world. It is 
for salvation to the ends of the earth — no more happily- 
beneficial for me than for my children — for me than for 
my servants. ' To the poor the Gospel is preached.^ 

Here then is the universal Christian platform. Society 
in all parts of the world now needs, and society in every 
past age has been in want of it, to act aright. As men 
have swerved, and as they now do swerve from it, they 
fall off into error. 

We must receive it as our platform, or suffer the evil 
consequences ourselves. 

It is one of the striking characteristics of the Saviour 
that while he was on the earth he went about doing 
good, healing all manner of sicknesses and diseases 
among the people, and carrying consolatory messages to 
the poor ; but in our day it is too far characteristic of us 
that we go about on our own business, seldom visiting 
the prisons, penitentiaries, hospitals and poor-houses, 
condoling with the wretched in them, drawing out words 
of true consolation from the Gospel of Christ, while we 
assiduously regard and court the favor of the rich and 
titled. Conformed ourselves in all the ways of fashion 
and modes of life, to the gay and thoughtless and busy 
ones by whom we are surrounded, we forget, and if not 
forgetting it, fail to exemplify the self-denial of the Son 
of God — making ourselves even objects of envy and 
hopeless aspiration to the poor ones by the way-side, in 
the hedges, at the pools, in hospitals, alms-houses, and 
prisons ! Can this be right ? 

The Gospel has produced very great elevation of the 
human family where it has been and is now preached. 
Its refining touch has put away or weakened the super- 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 345 

stition, cannibalism, paganism of the world, and it has 
done a great work in liberating the human mind from 
all error of doctrine and practice, from falsehood, bigotry, 
degradation, evil and corrupt habits. 

But it has not yet, by any means, made man perfect. 
It has not yet reproduced the scenes and innocence of 
Paradise. The present attainment is full of error, if not 
in theory — in practice. Nominal Christian people live 
in the constant exercises of pride, self-love, vanity, plea- 
sure, worldliness,' etc., in some one or many of their 
forms. There are few — very few — if any, who are true 
in all things, meek, patient, forgiving, benevolent, as 
was the Son of God, as know they in their own con- 
sciences, they should be. 

At the present time, society acknowledges the Gospel 
idea of benevolence towards the poor, and there are 
laws that bind us to the performance of this duty. We 
have our hospitals, our alms houses, homes of refuge, 
poor houses, etc. But private charity comes in to the 
aid of the unfortunate, in many cases, or the relief of 
the State would often be so indiscriminating that the 
evil and the good mingled together, would seethe into 
a measure of corruption. 

The public provision for the support of paupers, on 
which matter I chiefly speak, is, a provision to supply 
all the actually poor people of each town in a State with 
necessary and suitable temporal relief, it being ascer- 
tained that there was a positive certainty of a class of 
citizens without friends to help them, without health, 
without thrift, without strength — a needy, but not 
strictly criminal class — a fallen, impoverished class, in 
danger of starving and of previous great suffering, to 
the reproach of the State unless provided for. 

From a very early period, therefore, 'here has existed 



346 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

a State law securing the poor the benefit of town sup- 
port. 

The number of actual paupers in a town, who have 
no property in their own right, is generally conceded as 
from five to eight for every one thousand inhabitants. 
The number is probably much greater than this in the 
large cities, many of whom are destitute foreigners — 
often the pauperage of Europe sent here to save their 
support at home. 

In our own country towns, these paupers are the 
wrecks of society among us, representatives of our- 
selves ; they are what we may become. A town pau- 
per is one {any one) whose residence in any town is 
such as to give him a settlement there ; who cannot 
support himself, and needs and receives relief from the 
selectmen of the town or overseers ; although it does 
not follow that he must always remain a pauper. 

A State pauper is one in a similar condition of neces- 
sity, but who has no such settlement in the State. Na- 
tives of one town lose their residence and settlement 
there, when they gain a new one in some other town 
by living in it a given number of years — usually six 
years. It often happens that persons have no settle- 
ment in the State. 

The law obliges each town to support its paupers ; 
but it does not direct the mode. (In some of the States 
" it does, and then the poor of a county are all sent to a 
common centre, called the county poor-house, or farm.) 
Every town in New England is empowered to build a 
poor-house. If, however, the people think they can 
support the paupers " cheaper" without it, they have 
the right to do so.* 

This freedom leads to their disposal in various forms. 

* Mass. law ; D. B. Esq '« correspondence with Auth. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHEEN POOR-HOUSE. 347 

They ai'e sometimes kept in comfortable quarters at the 
town farm, so called, which the town, by tax or other- 
w^ise, finds the money to buy, and there they are per- 
mitted many personal conveniences, as at a quiet, well- 
ordered home, and are employed about the premises in 
various work and occupations proper to their condition 
and useful to their health, invariably lessening to the 
town their actual expense. And beside all this, it gives 
the suffering ones and the aged the proper and constant 
care of a nurse, places them in clean and warm rooms, 
provides for them good food, and in giving them a 
home, elevates them to the position of living, thinking, 
true human beings. There will often be found in these 
happy homes of the poor from fifteen to twenty-five 
persons. I say ' happy homes,' using the phrase in a 
liberal sense, for they elevate tlie institution into the 
lists of Gospel or Christian institutions. 

When they are not kept in this manner, they are 
sometimes supported in small companies, or gangs here 
and there about town, as the overseers can make con- 
tracts with different persons at so much per week. 
Then again, they divide the sexes, contracting with one 
or more individuals to support the females, and with 
another party to support the males. Not unfrequently 
they contract for the support of one in a family, so 
variously do they attend to this business, and secure 
the end of providing for them through a year. 

But the most outrageous and reprehensible manner 
— one that has become very common, although not uni- 
versal — is the selling of the paupers at the town-meet- 
ing, or soon after, by the overseers, to the lowest bid- 
der, who takes them off the hands of the town, and sup- 
ports them as he best can — working them as he pleases, 
clothing and feeding, nursing and burying them as he 
thinks he can afford to do. 



348 NEW England's chattels; or, 

This is a common practice. The lowest bidder is one 
who takes them at the lowest rate possible, after having 
been run in his bids by rival speculators in the stock, 
and is, further, one not usually a strictly conscientious, 
Christian man — the principles of such an one forbidding 
him to engage in the sale, even temporarily, of ' his own 
flesh.' Consequently, they are in the hands of money- 
makers, close calculators, worldly men, who, having bid 
them off at a very low price, feel justified in keeping 
them accordingly. 

And it is estimated that a shrewd business sort of a 
man will manage to keep fifteen paupers a year at an 
aggregate cost of only one hundred and fifty or two 
hundred dollars ! 

As it frequently happens that under this system they 
are supported year after year for three or five years by 
the same person, he comes to regard them as his crea- 
tures, to do with just as he feels inclined. He is some- 
times a very hard master, and then their condition is 
one of extreme suffering, danger and death ; at other 
times he is one of peculiar mercenariness, and then they 
go about akaost starved. Then he is thriftless and rum- 
my, and they fall into the same ruinous course. 

As thus managed, it is purely a selfish and unchristian 
institution. Of course, the paupers, bid off on specula- 
tion by a man formerly interested in the matter to make 
money out of it, other people see little of it, and have 
comparatively no interest in the management. They 
feel no obligation to remember the town's poor ; let the 
person who has taken, or bought them for the year, see 
that they are taken care of according to his contract ! 

Now, the contract may read well enough and be ex- 
plicit enough, but the town knows that if an individual 
bids off the poor at a low rate, he will of course keep 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 349 

them on very poor ai>.d coarse diet, and provide for 
them the most meagre accommodations. The only rea- 
son why this system has maintained its hold among the 
people here at the North is, that a majority of the 
voters, often a small, sometimes a large one, have re- 
garded it as the cheapest system. Simply to save a few 
dollars in the taxes, they have overlooked every other 
consideration, especially the inhumanity of it. They 
have not consulted at all the feelings of the poor them- 
selves, who have been sometimes persons of sensibility 
and virtue. They have gone in opposition to Christian 
principles — often Christian vows. 

You will find this to have been a prevalent custom in 
New England, says a friend who resides in a neighbor- 
ing town, writing to me some of these facts. ' About 
the time of my being appointed overseer of the poor, 
along with the selectmen, complaints began to arise 
against the high rates of taxes for the support of the 
poor. It costs too much to keep them — we won't board 
them about here and there any longer, but will sell 
them off in a lump, and so they did. By a small major- 
ity they carried a vote to sell the poor — not to the 
highest bidder, as our southern brethren sell their poor 
— but to the lowest, i. e., to him, who for the smallest 
sum, would keep them a year and clear the town of all 
expenses on their account. This,' he says, ' was a 
course as revolting to myself and to others, as it ivas 
mortifying to the poor themselves. But a majority ruled 
and continued the practice, thinking it the cheapest 
course. It was repeatedly proposed by the few, to 
purchase a farm and put it in proper condition to give 
the paupers a home. But this was uniformly opposed 
by the many.' * 

* 0. S., Esq., B — vt. 



350 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

In the town of Crampton we have an average of fifteen 
paupers a year. Of these, ten are aged persons, male 
and female, from fifty to eighty years of age ; some of 
them were reared in the best society and enjoyed a fine 
reputation. Circumstances, I cannot now detail, have 
made them poor. Their last years are periods of misery 
often indescribable. The men and women have lit- 
tle separate accommodations, and the vulgar, at plea- 
sure, offend the modest and delicate. The younger 
portion mingle with the old and learu their evil ways. 
Together they go on in idleness, uncleanliness and 
vicious ways — often little children are found there with 
the aged, the vulgar and wicked. 

We have had one State pauper, a Mr. Boyce, a talent- 
ed author, a foreigner among our poor, with a half de- 
mented intellect. He was removed by a friendly neigh- 
bor. His wife and child came from England to find 
him. Shocked beyond endurance at finding him as she 
did, the Avife went into a decline herself, and both hus- 
band and wife died leaving an orphan daughter who has 
been reared in my own family as an adopted daughter, 
and is now in her seventeenth year. 

We have now actually as a town pauper, an aged 
widow of one of the deacons of the church, a woman of 
remarkable scriptural knowledge, and of good sense on 
many subjects, who ought not to have been sent there, 
nor to be confined there a day longer. We are daily 
looking for the time when Captain Isaac Bunco, former- 
ly the keeper of the town poor for several years, will 
be himself in that condition. I have, as many of you 
know, educated a young man from there, a relation of 
my wife, whose parents were of respectable families in 
this town. The young man has been through college. 
and will, I think, maks his mark upon the world. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 351 

I shall close this essay, already too long, when I have 
mentioned some of the civil rights that paupers lose. 

In the first place, They are not in all cases all-oived to 
vote. 

In the second place. They cannot act on a jury. 

In the third place, They cannot, as paiipers, own any 
-property. 

In the fourth place. They cannot direct in what man- 
ner they shall be supported. 

In the fifth place,They cannot choose their own keepers. 

In the sixth place. They cannot direct the care of 1:heir 
children, as 

(a) whether they shall live with them. 
(&) " " " go to school. 

(c) " " " be bound out as apprentices. 

(d) ivhen " " be bound out, or to whom. 

As long as they remain actual paupers, these rights are 
denied them. 

They also lose their social and religious position. That 
is — they go not into society ; they seldom attend church ; 
they seldom put on mourning for the dead ; it is not 
customary to lift up prayers for them as a class in the 
pulpit ; seldom do ministers preach about them or con- 
demn the manner in which they are supported. Few of 
them if any are remembered when the church assem- 
bles at the table of the Lord. And rarely are there any 
contributions taken for their benefit, and even churches 
frequently allow their aged and infirm members to close 
their days in the poor-house.* 

They are a neglected, sufiering, dying class of our fel- 

* James Brewster, Esq., of New Haven, found two women at the alms-house, 
who were members of t lie church to which he belonged. He immediately took 
them away, brought their case before the brotherhood, and a vote was taken that 
the church should assume their support. At the same time it was voted that, every 



352 NEW exgland's chattels ; or, 

low-men, often punished severely by their keepers, if 
they even on a good excuse of fatigue, or weakness, or 
old age, refuse to do as they are told. 

Such is the northern poor-house in our moral and vir- 
tuous communities — prevailing more or less extensively 
through the New England States, a mode of supporting 
the pauper people — numbering, outside of the cities, 
perhaps ten thousand souls /" 

The report was listened to with great attention, and 
deeply mortified and distressed most of the clergymen 
present. 

Rev. Mr. Archdale begged leave to inquire of the 
brother, whether town paupers could act as witnesses ? 

Mr. Eodman replied, " They can, because the town 
may be benefited in certain cases by their testimony." 

Rev. Mr. Dilly inquired, " Can town paupers be sued 
for debt?" 

Mr. Rodman said, " Yes, they can be sued, but at the 
risk of the plaintifi' in the case. If he sues a pauper for 

Christian church ought to maintain its individual poor members. ' From Mr. B 's 
private journal. — Auth. 

Mr. B. educated a young man and a young girl, taken from the paupers, but 
they died early after giving promise of fine intellectual character. 

He also sent the Rev. Claudius Herrick to the alms-house six years, at his private 
expense, who acted there in the capacity of chaplain. He says in his journal : — 
" By him many an inmate's dying hours were consoled and his heart cheered." 

Mr. Brewster could report cases of sufi"ering, wretchedness, and misfortune, con- 
nected with the pauperism of New Haven, that would stir the blood of honest men, 
and wring out tears. And he who thinks the writer has exhausted his subject in 
the cases which have been here brought to view, is informed that these are but 
specimens of large generalization. A thousand heart-rending histories of paupers 
suffering and dying in the poor-houses of Kew England, are in the memories of her 
population, and found on the records of her public offices. The cases which have 
been mentioned here have been brought forward lo illustrate the principle we have 
rebuked. They faintly represent the system in its corruption and wickedness, as 
the same is even yet pursued in hundreds of New England towns. — Auth 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOE-HOUSB. 353 

debt, and gets a judgment in his favor, he must run all 
the risk of serving on him the writ." 

" Can he himself sue for debt ?^' inquired Rev. Charles 
Shirley. 

" Yes, because if he receives any property, he liberates 
the town from his future support." 

" Are paupers free to contract marriage ?" inquired 
the moderator, Rev. Samuel Chapman, D.D. 

" A woman can be married out of her state of pauper- 
age of course by a responsible party, and paupers some- 
times are said to be married legally under ordinary 
circumstances. I doubt whether the selectmen of a 
town would allow a pauper to marry a wife who was a 
pauper in another town, and bring her home an expense 
to them. They do sometimes marry, but the circum- 
stances of the case are always considered." 

Rev. Mr. Shirley said he wished to read to the breth- 
ren the following scrap which he had cut out of a news- 
paper recently — he believed from the Washington 
Union of May : — " An aged maiden lady of Portland, 
Maine, 74 years of age, was carried to the work-house, 
who has a brother living in that city who was taxed the 
past year on the assessor's book for over $14,000 ; also 
a sister whose husband is taxed for $8,000 ; and a cousin 
who is reported to be worth $50,000." 

" Now," said Mr. Shirley, " I know nothing about this 
matter further, but if it is true, as is here represented, 
ought we not to blush for our humanity, and weep over 
the imperfect workings of our common and holy re- 
ligion ?" 

" I saw a statement in, I think, a Connecticut paper," 
said the Rev. Henry Wile}-, " that the town paupers of 
Stamford, in that State, to the number of thirty, (more 
or less,) were kept during the last severe winter, in a 



354 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

cold, damp building, in a manner most revolting and 
cruel ; the writer, a Southern man said, * in a much 
worse condition than even blacks at the South.' I 
haven't with me the paper, but I remember the sub- 
stance of it, and it was as I have given it you. I think 
if these things are true, or any portion of them nearly 
so, we have a solemn duty to discharge in our own 
towns." 

The Moderator, and also other brethren, said they 
had often seen such statements, but they had not trea- 
sured them up, neither paid them much attention at 
the time. They confessed that they had been guilty of 
great neglect towards the paupers. " I hope," said the 
Moderator, " we shall not let this matter die from our 
recollections, but that we may make inquiries at home 
and elsewhere preparatory to our individual and asso- 
ciational action. We must not sit quietly over a subject 
of such amazing wrong !" 

" The Legislature of Connecticut," said Mr. Rodman, 
** has just affirmed the anti-citizenship of paupers, placing 
them on the same footing with fugitive slaves. This is 
a section of the act : ' Third, all other persons, being in 
or coming into and locating within this State, with in- 
tent to remain and reside permanently as citizens, ex- 
cept aliens, jJaupers, fugitives from justice and fugitives 
from service, and all persons within the jurisdiction of 
this State, shall in all cases be entitled to the protection 
of its constitution and laws.' It appears," said he, 
"from this, that when any individual of that State, 
though previously a man of business and character, be- 
comes a pauper, he lose;?, his citizenship — is no longer 
entitled ' to the protection of its constitution and laws.' 
Is not this rank with injustice and cruelty ? — shall we 
tolerate a state of things in New England, in respect to 



•LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 355 

our poor white people — our own citizens, that simply 
for the offence of poverty, denies them the benefits of 
citizenship — the benefits of the constitution of free and 
intelligent States ? I think we may well hang our heads 
if we do, and hereafter, forever close our mouths upon 
the enormities and cruelties of Slavery ! Shall we con- 
sent to it that ten or twenty thousand white citizens, 
aged, infirm and poor, dependent on the charity of their 
fellow-men, yet guilty of no crime, shall we give our 
consent to the statute that takes from them their citi- 
zenship and the protection of the laws ? Truly, if so, 
this is the age of refined barbarism, instead of high, en- 
lightened Christianity. We need not go out of New 
England to thrust home the sacred remonstrance, ' phy- 
sician ! HEAL THYSELF.' " 



356 NEW England's chattels : or, 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

100,000 Brick. Paupers at twenty cents a day for the lot — i. e., " one forty" per 
week : a considerable amount of money, all things taken into the account. 

* John Stoddard, a man of good calculations, and for- 
tunate in his business affairs, took the paupers off the 
hands of their great god-father, the Town of Crampton 
■ — the paupers, I say, men, women, and children — three 
or four 3'ears ; when, being unwilling to harbor them 
longer, they fell again into the hands of our friends Mr. 
and Mrs. Siddleton. Mr. Siddleton had been a close 
observer the meantime of the management of others, 
and he thought whether it would not be a nice thing 
for himself and his wife if they could make " the thing" 
fay! 

" Now," said he, " Mrs. Siddleton, we musn't keep 
these poor crittures too tenderly, nor bestow too much 
pious instruction on them. You see it really is a mat- 
ter of dollars and cents. Stoddard and Bacon have 
made money out of them, and why can't we ? I intend 
they shall work now to pay for past idleness, and really 
think a little manual exercise will be good for them. 
There's Dan, and Tucker, and Bill, and Rogers, and Sam 
White, and young Harry the deaf boy, besides Mag 

* My friend, Mr. , who had much experience in the details of the 

management customary with the poor, gave me often many interesting f3,cts, and 
much information on the subject. But he has recently deceased, to the grief of 
his friends, and to my individual regret, inasmuch as I had calculated much on the 
assistance 1 should derive from him in making up these papers. — Auth. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSEi 357 

Davis, Roxy, Ma'am Upliam, aunt Jemima, the old widow 
Prescott, Miss Carpenter, and granny Wakeup, besides 
the children and the bed-rid ones, old Josh Hicks and 
sister Peters. Here they are, seven-eights of 'urn able 
to help a great deal. Now don't let's give up all our 
time to nursing on 'um and teaching them, but let's see 
if we can't make them fly round, and earn at least the 
salt they eat. What's the use of having so much work- 
ing material on hand without improving it ? For my 
pa'tt, I begin to think it's a sin." And Mr. Siddleton 
looked at his wife very soberly indeed ; Mrs. Siddleton 
looked thoughtfully at the subject some time. At last 
she said — 

" It is my duty to do all for these poor souls in my 
power consistent with every other actual obligation. 
There may be such a thing as paying too much regard 
to their spiritual state, and too little to their tempo- 
ral " 

" That's just it 1" said he. 

"Now, I agree in opinion with you, that if they can 
they ought to earn something ; and as you have taken 
them so low this year, I feel it my duty to help you in 
your plans to realize something from the risk. So now 
what do you propose to do, Mr. Siddleton ?" 

" Well, first," said he, " you must dispense with the 
servant girl, and make the paupers do your work." 

" Yes, that I can do, or can try it." 

" Just so. Then we must begin, as we can hold out 
as to feeding and clothing them. You see it is now Oc- 
tober, and the winter is before us — the most expensive 
season of the year — a long time of it now before they 
can do much in the fields. When the spring returns 
and Slimmer, I shall take them into the fields to plant 
and lioe corn, make hay, reap grain, etc. But in the 



358 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

meantime, wc must get through the winter with as little 
money paid out for food and clothing as possible." 

" That looks to me very reasonable ; and you know I 
always did advise them to practice abstinence from tem- 
poral vanities, on the well-known Gospel principle, 
" Tahe no thought— for food." 

" Yes, that's all right, my dear." 

" They don't really need much food, Mr. Siddleton." 

" Ah ?" 

" No ; for their natures are low, their blood is feeble, 
they arn't accustomed to it, they are inactive and dull, 
their teeth are gone or defective, and they don't expect 
what other folks have." 

" Just so ; well ?" 

" I was going to say," she added, " and will now, if 
you please, before I forget it. They are a great deal 
more submissive if kept on low feed than on high. I 
think gruel and soup are very good for them." 

" That's the kind we can best afford, you know," said 
he. " And we must throw in some potatoes, onions, 
bony pieces of meat, and provide a good deal of cheap 
salt meat and fish. I think that we will begin our out- 
goes for them at one dollar and fifty cents a week. If 
we can bring it inside of that, well and good — ticenty- 
two cents a day ! That's almost a quarter of a dollar, 
Mrs. Siddleton." 

" A good deal of money in the end," said she. 

" A very large sum, indeed ! Perhaps we hadn't bet- 
ter come up quite to that figure. If we begin with too 
great generosity, we shall certainly run aground." 

" I know it," said she. 

" What if we call it twenty cents a day, eh ? — one dol- 
lar forty per week !"* 

* Says a friend, wri •ng to mo from a town in Massachusetts — " If I had the 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 359 

" There's nothing like trying, husband. I can tell 
them we must be as economical as possible, for the 
times are hard and we are restricted in our out-goes." 

" Very true, you can. Well, then, sa}^ ' one forty' per 
week. That's settled. Now, I think of opening my old 
brick-yard again this fall and burning a hundred thou- 
sand brick, won't that be nice work for them ?" 

" It will, indeed ! why that's a good thought — if it 
will not be too hard for them, Mr. Siddleton." 

" No, not at all. They can pick out the clay by little 
and little, load it, dump it, grind it, mould it, dry it, and 
pack it, fire it, watch it — do almost every thing about 
the kiln, and I look on, give directions, and work when 
I please." 

" I like the plan, husband, exceedingly. It will keep 
the men away from the house too a great deal, and so 
make it more comfortable for me, and more agreeable 
for all." 

" I've got an order for a hundred thousand brick from 
George Pepper and Company over at the Falls "Works. 
They are going to put up a new factory, and will pay 
me the cash on delivery." 

" Well, husband, go right about it. Make that your 
principal business till it is done, and between us we'll 
manage the paupers somehow or other to make them 
help along and earn their own support." 

Mr. and Mrs. Siddleton, and the town paupers, all 
lived in a sociable sort of a way under the same roof. 
The principle adopted throughout this entire establish- 
ment was, compactness, centralization, no spare room, 
no waste. This house was somewhat picturesque and 

time I could give you some individual case? of ' fallen fortunes,' and of the way in 
which the poor have been treated, which, if published to the world, would make 
the ears of some to tiugle." — Mr. W. E., to Auth. 



360 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

romantic in its outward look, having a main part origi- 
nally twenty by twenty-eight feet, tw^o stories in front 
and one in the rear, w^hich was a wing running back in- 
to a steep hill that overshadowed it. This wing was on 
a level with, the upper floor, and the roof was straight 
from front to rear, and under the roof w^as garret room 
for the paupers, who could climb there by a very nar- 
row, very steep and neck-breaking little flight of stairs, 
the width of a closet door, occupying in the ascent but 
three feet leaning distance. The garret was partitioned 
oS by a curtain, the south part for the females, who had 
their accommodations in that loft, the north by the men. 
The wing below was divided into a sitting-room eight 
feet by ten, and four dormitories averaging eight feet 
square. Besides these, there was a small Aving on the 
west side of the rear room, used as a common room for 
the females, where from four to six, according to cir- 
cumstances, and one or two small children extra, could 
bunk down over night. 

We don't know how little room we really need, good 
friends, till we are brought into straights ! A room eight 
feet square will very comfortably accommodate two or 
three souls, (so said Mrs. Siddleton,) if they can't by any 
possibility of things have any more square feet. And 
inasmuch as " three or four in a bed" is often a jocose 
amusement for happy-hearted, well-to-do folks in the 
world — why wonder at it that a large room ten feet by 
twelve say, should be capable of accommodating six or 
eight paupers of all sizes and ages ? It is perfect 
amusement for paupers to snuggle up together as they 
sleep, for they impart warmth to each other in this 
manner, so doing away with the necessity of extra bed- 
ding, where that article is not to be had for love and — no 
money. 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 361 

These apartments were the special privileges of the 
paupers. The balance of the building was carpeted, 
the windows of the front chamber-parlor were hung 
with embroidered muslins ; a sofa, soft rockers and 
chairs ; a large mirror, handsome vases, some few pic- 
tures, a large family Bible, etc., etc., were among its 
treasures, conveniences and ornaments. Below there 
was a large front dining-room, commodious bed-room, 
large pantrv, and extra sleeping room. 

From these rooms the smell of good savory dishes of- 
ten found its way to the wings and lofts above. Some- 
times the savory odor was the only thing of the kind 
that ever hobbled up those stairs. 

We are not instituting any comparisons in these pages 
between the state of wretchedness and degradation wit- 
nessed among the paupers in the country poor-houses, 
and the paupers and other miserable victims of want in 
the cities and in their alms-houses. It is probable that 
in many respects the rural paupers often suffer less than 
those, for there is hardly any measurement of the human 
degradation the poor exhibit in the cities, in groups 
where they are driven by their common, absolute want. 
In one thing it is true, the country paupers have a great 
advantage. They can inhale the pure atmosphere of 
heaven, whenever they step forth from their confined 
and ill-flavored apartments. They also usually have ac- 
cess to the purest water as a beverage. And how many 
soever ameliorating circumstances we might hunt up 
and mention, these will readily enough occur to others, 
to the critics especially. But it is enough, that the old 
rural poor-house system, in its denial of citizenship ; the 
sale of the poor to the lowest bidder as chattels, the 
compulsory labor it permits ; the degradation it winks 
at ; the heartlessness and cruelty it cultivates, is a 

16 



362 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

NORTHERN INSTITUTION, hard by the free press, the free 
soil, the free school, the church of Jesus Christ the Son 
of God. 

It is false in principle ; it is evil in practice ; it is 
inhuman and needlessly corrupt. 

But to return to our paupers. They went back to 
their old quarters at Siddleton's with downcast faces, 
some of them in tears. 

"Oh ! Mag," said Mrs. Prescott, " will that dream ever 
be fulfilled?" 

" God only knows," said the other, smiting her with- 
ered hands upon her head and staring wildly round her : 
" Yes, it must be — we can't live so. If there's a God in 
heaven he will fulfill it, and have mercy on us." 

But Dan shook his head and grumbled, " What if there 
isn't a God?" 

" Itll make no diiFerence, Dan, you know it won't," 
said she. " Mankind themselves will see our afflictions 
and relieve them." 

" I never saw any good thing in mankind," said Tucker. 

" No, nor I," said Dan. 

" There's a m — m — mi — migh — ^mighty little dif— dif- 
france in — m — m — mankind — any how," stammered out 
Sam White, the poor shoemaker. 

" There's a great difference, Mr. White," said the widow, 
" between God and men." 

" Ye — ye-s there — is — is — so," said he. 

" I believe in the Lord," said Bill. 

" So — do Ij" emphatically replied White. 

Granny Wakeup came in on her crutch from one of 
the side doors. " Well," said she, " does any body know 
whether we are to have any supper to-night ?" 

" Didn't you eat dinner enough. Granny, to last over 
night ?" inquired Mag Davis. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 363 

" No, 1 didn't. I want my three meals a day, and 
hearty one's too, or I'm fit -for nothing." 

" I guess mother Siddleton ■will teach you in the course 
of two or three days that the last thing to be calculated 
on here with regularity is a meal of victuals." 

" Then I can tell her she'll feel the rap of my crutch," 
said the haggard old creature. 

" Ha ! ha ! ha !" screamed Roxy and Mag. 

" It's no laughing matter, girl, I tell you," said she. 
" Do you think that aunt Prescott and me, and sister 
Peters, and old Joshua Hicks, eighty or ninety years of 
age, arn't going to have what victuals we want ?" 

" I tell you, she'll give you what she's a mind to, won't 
she, aunt Prescott ?" asked Mag. 

" She wants to take off our thoughts from eating and 
drinking, and worldly fashions, and make us ready for 
the other world. So far she is right, I suppose," said 
the widow with a sigh. 

" Well, I could always say my prayers best," said 
granny Wakeup, " after a good warm cup of tea and a 
biscuit." 

" Biscuit ! by the Lord !" exclaimed Dan. 

" Don't you have any biscuit here ?" asked she. 

" We have an oat-meal cake once in a while, or an In- 
dian hard crust ; do you call that biscuit ?" 

" No, I don't." 

" You'll look through that door a good many times for 
any other biscuit in this house," said Mag. 

" Well then, give us some milk toast." 

'^ Ha ! ha ! ha !" cried Tucker. 

" That ain't very dear living, is it ?" said she. 

"We don't get it though in this place. Toast! why 
I've forgot how it tastes, havn't you, Dan ?" 

" Yes, ten years ago," said he. 



364 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" Dried beef is good, then," said the old lady. 

" Well, the beef is dry enough !" shouted Mag. 

" Ha ! ha ! ha !" snored out Dan. 

" Good for Mag," said Tucker. 

" First rate," said Roxy. 

Alas ! old granny Wakeup, you have yet to take your 
tirst lessons in the poor-house. You will find that you 
have stepped down a long step from the poorest level 
of free society, where there is a private home and small 
means to do with. Oh, what a happy home is that of 
a poor, unpainted cottage, with a green lawn before it, 
a lilac bush and rose at the window, a plain, rough fence 
shutting it in from the road-side ; a little stream warb- 
ling by ; a rough shed where the little brindled cow 
with milk for the children, chews her cud, and the fowls 
walk around her, finding in the loft their nests ; where 
the cheerful boys and girls may fill their hands with eggs 
for breakfast ; the little pig-pen near, its occupant 
grunting for his evening meal ; the little garden filled 
with plants and choicest vines. What a happy home is 
that to the desolation that reigns here ! 

Yes, granny Wakeup found it so. Mrs. Siddleton in- 
formed her that she had, all her long life, thought too 
much of creature comforts, and that she must now school 
herself into self-denial. " I shall give you all a cracker 
each and a little weak tea to-night," she said ; " after 
which you had better retire, at least very soon, to rest. 
And mind," said she, " before you close your eyes, to 
lift your prayers to the Bountiful Giver of every good 
and perfect gift for tJiis day's mercies." 

Granny Wakeup had just come to the poor-house — 
her last reliance having failed her in the shape of an old 
faithful servant, brought up in her family in better 
days, and who, to the last, rented a part of a small 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 365 

house and took in washing, by which she managed to 
support her aged and broken-down benefactress. The 
old lady had been a widow nearly twenty years. Her 
husband left her with a small property, which she was 
obliged to spend in her support ; and when brought 
into a state of destitution, her faithful Eunice, herself 
nearly sixty years of age, determined to devote herself 
to her comfort. Eunice had heard of the poor-house, 
and shuddered to think that either herself or her be- 
loved mistress might be compelled to accept of its hol- 
low-hearted charity, especially to submit to the degra- 
dation of a public sale at the auction block, as articles of 
little value. 

And so Eunice labored on ten years in her benevo- 
lent duty, and the two were happy. When she died 
she left a little money, accumulated and saved day by 
day, to her aged companion ; and the only great grief 
she felt was for her mistress, for she saw no other way 
of support possible to her than that of the institution 
she had so long and so successfully labored to save her 
from. 

When you degrade man, and crowd him down instead 
of elevating and honoring him, it makes little difference 
whether the act be in regard of one man in higher 
honor at times than another ; you commit an error that 
cries out against all your theories of religion, education, 
and refinement. If you build up yourself on another's 
ruins, may you not fear the foundation beneath will 
utter groans, and finally crumble ? Can there be a last- 
ing peace or condition of quiet where, in town or State, 
there exists by law and practice a foul wrong so emi- 
nently unjust as that of denying to the aged and suffer- 
ing poor, simply because of their poverty, the rights of 
citizenship and the protection of the laws — aye, that 



366 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

permits them to be placed in circumstances where nu- 
man selfishness and meanness can have full power of 
action, to their real distress and humiliation of the body 
and mind ? If it must be that the poor we have ever 
with us, it is not necessary that we should ourselves be 
the guilty party in the cause of their poverty, especially 
in adding to their mortification and despair. 

Such provision should be made for the poor as will 
relieve and comfort those who are driven by their want 
to cast themselves on the public charity. Give them 
work such as they can do ; preserve their own self- 
respect ; cheer them, encourage them, bless them. We 
can see no good reason for disfranchising men of pov- 
erty, who are not criminals. Are there not hundreds 
and thousands of men in every State in New England 
who are, in respect to themselves, absolutely paupers, 
but who are living on their friends, or on their own bra- 
zen wits, or on borrowed capital ; yet not disfranchised, 
because, forsooth, they have not been entered paupers 
on the books of the town ? 

Something akin to this has been advanced by another 
writer on the general subject of pauperism, and more 
particularly on its development in crowded cities. He 
says : " Where the poor are admitted to a just share in 
the privileges of society, the benefits for which govern- 
ment was appointed, and are so educated as to be pre- 
pared to avail themselves of those privileges, there the 
higher classes are constantly recruited by a virtuous 
and disciplined energy that, under such a beneficent 
system, has made its way from the lower, and the great 
end of a good government is gained, and all classes are 
pledged for its support and security." 

He further says : '"^ But if, instead of the poor having 
hope, they are trampled down into despair ; if, by the 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 367 

neglect, selfishness, and oppression of the government 
(and neglect on the part of the government is itself, in 
his thing, oppression,) and the grasping avarice and, 
selfish luxury of the wealthy, they are kept in ignorance 
and wretchedness, and thus their very poverty is made 
the destruction of the poor, by such diabolic crushing 
operations of the social state as effectually forbid the 
poor man, or the virtuous and conscientious poor, to 
rise, there is no reprieve for such a state from utter 
perdition. The causes of rottenness and ruin are at 
work as powerfully and certainly in the very prosperity 
of the upper classes as in the ignorance and riot ot 
vicious elements in the lower, and like the crater of a 
slumbering volcano, all will tumble in upon the same 
fire, or perhaps in some awful eruption, bury the social 
state in desolation."* 

* G. B. Cheever. 



368 NEW England's chattels ; or, 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

Mk. Siddletos's idea of the Gospel. Somehow or other our ideas are not always 
the same, nor are they always just. But if we happen to hit on right notions, by all 
means let them out. They may do somebody good. 

The last time Siddleton took the paupers off the 
hands of the town, there was a great noisy town-meet- 
ing discussion of the whole case. Many of the former 
opponents of the measures advocated by the " reform- 
ers," as they were called, came over from their party 
and voted for reform. Among these were Abraham 
Bacon and John Stoddard. They had seen enough in 
their own management to prove that the paupers might 
be supported at much less expense to the toivn than they 
now were ; and as their tax was a heavy one, they, out 
of purely selfish regard, voted to abolish the system of 
public sale, and purchase a town farm, to be carried 
on under the care of some person of faithful and econo- 
mical character for the ultimate benefit of the town. 

By the small majority of fifteen votes, the town car- 
ried through the old measure of farming out the paupers 
to the lowest bidder. There was great rejoicing among 
the reformers at the announcement : it was the promise 
of success ere long. The subject having been warmly 
and intelligently discussed, many who voted with the 
old party began to waver and say they were almost con- 
vinced that the new measure was worthy of a trial. 
Squire Ben, Lawyer Tools, and Mr. Savage, were put in 
selectmen, Mr. Haddock and his party being all crowd* 



JFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 369 

ed out ; the vote was too close for the exercise of any- 
party Hberality. 

Mr. Siddleton, by crowding all hands into the work, 
was ready by the middle of October for his brick-yard 
operations. Not for a long time had Dan or Tucker 
done as much regular work day after day as now each 
of them performed. Bill also, old and feeble as he was, 
put himself to do a good day's work. Harry, the deaf 
boy, and Sam White also, worked hard. But by the 
middle of November the kiln was not ready for burning, 
and the weather beginning to pinch, the paupers often 
stopped and bent over their mouldings and shivered. 
Siddleton observed this, and dosed them with cider and 
whisky, and so drove the pile to burning. But he was 
compelled to hire more help than he expected. No 
serious accident arising, the brick were burned in good 
season, and Siddleton and two of his neighbors' teams, 
driven by liis own hands, began the carting. The brick 
were all delivered on the first of February, and Siddle- 
ton, rejoicing in the speculation as the best one he had 
ever made, was illy prepared for the news that spread 
consternation over the whole vicinity the next day, 
when he was looking for a settlement with the com- 
pany, that "Pepper & Co." at the Falls Works had 
made an assignment, and estimated their indebtedness 
at half a million of dollars. 

Mr. Siddleton was not the only one who hurried over 
to the factory when this news reached him, and en- 
deavored to secure his individual claim. But his efforts 
were unavailing ; he returned home to dole out his com- 
plaints to his wife, whose quality of resignation was a 
larger degree of self-command than his, but actually a 
high pressure amount of resistance and ill blood, ten 
degrees higher than her husband's. 



370 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" Well, wife, we are ruined ! — we are knocked in the 
head as sure as fate," said Siddleton. 

" Why— it canH he, Mr. Siddleton !" 

" The bricks are gone as sure as the world," said he. 

" Why, what do you mean ? Your are not in earnest !" 

" Yes, the company have signed over, and my bricks 
go in with the assets !" 

" Impossible ! Mr. Siddleton. Is there no law ?" 

" None that will help us now, hang it ! I wish I had 
been fool enough to have taken that check for a thou- 
sand dollars last week that Pepper offered me " 

" A check declined by you for a thousand dollars, Mr. 
Siddleton, ?" 

" Yes ; you see I wanted it all in a lump, and so de- 
clined it. He said, in a rather low voice, ' 3Ir. Siddle- 
ton, ivho knows what ivill he on the morrow ? You had 
better take it.' But I wouldn't, I told him. I would 
wait for the whole " 

" Oh ! Mr. Siddleton ! Well— I declare," and she bit 
her lip, and compressed her lips, " We are really in the 
midst of — a Providence, Mr. Siddleton — a hard — terri- 
ble — unlooked for Providence !" 

" Yes, we are, by thunder I Who would have thought 
it? I had my suspicions the company w^asn't safe a 
month ago," said he. 

" Suspicions, Mr. Siddleton ! That don't speak very 
well for you — what, suspicions ?" 

" I heard the men up stairs say, * Wonder if Siddleton 
will ever get his pay of Pepper ?" 

" Why, husband — and didnH that trouble you ?" 

" Yes, I thought of it a good while." 

" And didn't tell me ! Oh, Siddleton ! Siddleton !" 

" Oh, well, it was vague after all." 

" These folks often know what's going on as correctly 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 371 

as other people — (oh ! dear — well !) How sJiould they 
know ? — it's strange that they should know anything — " 

"Confound the luck!" said Siddleton, pacing the 
floor. 

" Mr. Siddleton ! we must be resigned 1" 

" Confound the * Pepper Co.,' say I " 

" Mr. Siddleton, compose yourself." 

" I wish the whole concern was tipped into the river 1" 

" Why, Mr. Siddleton, have you forgotten to bear 
with meekness your trials and afflictions? Have you 
received corrections in vain ?" 

" They're a set of unprincipled swindlers, I " 

'' Do, Mr. Siddleton, strive to endure the chastenings 
of Providence " 

" If I had a raw-hide I'd just put it round Pepper's 
back till he cried for mercy " 

" The Lord deliver you from the evil one, Mr. Sid- 
dleton 1" 

" Half a million dollars in ! hey ?" 

" That's a great failure, isn't it, Mr. Siddleton ?" 

" "Well, the scamps may as well fail for half a million 
as for any other sum — they'll cheat us out of all we have 
at any rate, and I don't see but we shall go to the poor- 
house ourselves !" 

" Oh 1 no, Mr. Siddleton, there is no danger, and even 
if there were, ive should be treated well ; we have done 
so much for others." 

" Hur ! !" grunted out the ill-minded Siddleton. 

" What do you mean by that, Mr. Siddleton ?" 

" I mean, they'd apply 1 5 us our own principles," 
said he. 

" Well, they are Bible principles, you know ?" she re- 
plied, a little tartly. 

" Mrs. Siddleton, the Bible should be interpreted by 



372 NEW ENGLAND S CHATTELS ; OR, 

those who are in trouble, not by those in comfort and 
power." 

" Why, Mr. Siddleton ! what do you mean !" 

" If I were old Josh Hicks, with my bones looking 
through the flesh, from long confinement to my bed ; 
my scrawny arms all shrunken and rattling, the skin of 
my face shrivelled and clinging to the bones of the 
cheek and nose ; my body tormented with rheumatic 
pain ; too weak to rise and too miserable to lie down — I 
should want to interpret the Bible in its most comfort- 
ing ways to me, rather than in its severer words and 
more condemning power." 

*' And pray what would you in such a case do other 
than I have done to him ?" 

" I don't know that you are particularly in fault. I 
would interpret the Bible to me as a great, helpless suf- 
ferer, needing all its grace to sustain me." 

" Well, so I do interpret it, I hope 1" 

" But, Mrs. Siddleton, you and I are, where it suits best 
our convenience, to say to them in Bible language. You 
must ' show yourselves men f ' endure hardness as good 
soldiers of the cross ;' ' man should not live by bread 
alone, but by every word of God.' ' He that ivill not work, 
neither shall he eat J But there is a Bible class of inter- 
pretations that just suits the case of a man in the condi- 
tion of Hicks." 

" Well, perhaps I grant it." 

" Yes, ' Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy 
laden, and I will give you rest.' ' In my Father's house 
are many mansions, I go to prepare a place for you.' 
' Cast aU your care upon the Lord, for he careth for you.' 
' In my distress I called upon the Lord and he heard me 
out of his holy hill.' " 

" Now, Mrs. Siddleton, I don't say that ive had better 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 373 

do any differently from what we have already done. 
But I tell you the Bible is the •poor man^s friend when 
you get the cream of it. It is not merely a teacher and a 
scourge, but it is also a sovereign balm for all his woes." 

Mrs. Siddleton was perfectly overwhelmed at her 
husband's intimate perception of Bible truth. She felt 
convicted by his reasonings of much one-sidedness in 
her own course of interpretation, and thought that per- 
haps she had some lessons to learn from the Bible her- 
self. 

But she also knew that he was laboring under a very 
highly excited condition of the intellect, and wisely, she 
concluded, deferred any permanent change in her sys- 
tem of management till the customary level of feeling 
was again perceptible. She, however, put on the tea- 
kettle at an early hour, and heard it hissing and steam- 
ing with unaccustomed sensations of pleasure, for she 
had resolved to give the whole of the paupers a tea 
supper and some buttered toast ! 

If you can get only a little leaf of the Bible properly 
into the heart of man, it will astonishingly humanize him, 
opening it a great way and causing it to throb, ^Aro5, throb 
almost to bursting. There's a difference in the effect, 
whether the Bible be got into the heart therefore, or be 
packed all round it, and especially, whether it lie in the 
hrain or in the heart. 

Mrs. Siddleton's Bible was clear, brain-Bible, and it 
was handsomely folded near, but just outside of her 
heart, and that, a heart of stone. 

When the tea-kettle boiled, and the flavor of the tea 
rose like sweet incense over her bead, and went frolick- 
ing and gamboling up the narrow stairway, and pene- 
trated under the doors and by the side of the doors and 
through the latchets of the doors ; and the savory fra- 



374 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

grance of the buttered toast followed it, the Bible had 
begun to work down into her heart, thawing out its ice, 
softening its rock and showing her a heart of flesh 1 

That's the kind of heart the Gospel is looking after, 
and when it is found, the world over, mankind will be- 
gin their true jubilee. 

As for Mr. Siddleton, he retired to his room, took 
down his books, went over all his accounts again and 
again, and continued that occupation until dark, mean- 
time pulling his hair, giving vent to ejaculatory curses, 
and regarding himself as the most unfortunate man alive 
on the face of the earth. Unfortunately for Siddleton's 
plan of employing the paupers in the manufacture of his 
brick, the work was too hard and too great for them, 
while the season was cold and difficult to endure. They 
frequently gave out before doing a half day's work, and 
at no time after the first three wxeks were there in the 
company more than two or three that were at all reli- 
able. Many were either sick or feignedly so, and he 
was forced to hire, at great wages, two or three extra 
hands. Of course Mr. Siddleton resented behavior and 
disappointment of this sort, and they who loould not 
work, were taught from the Word of God that they 
sJiould not eat. 

Eating and working were the two great points of in- 
terest in the case of paupers. It was certain that they 
must eat more or less, and the practical, interesting in- 
quiry in that connection was, " how much work can be 
got out of them ?" He who could best solve this dubi- 
ous question, could also best meet the practicalities of 
the other point. 

Siddleton, try as he would, never seemed to succeed 
in his plans of work. Either the plans were unsound in 
themselves, or the manner of carrying them out was de- 



LIFE IN THE NJETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 375 

fective. He was sure to find himself a loser whenever 
he undertook to accomplish his plans by the help of the 
paupers. Not being philosophic enough to discover 
the true cause of his failure, however, he unfailingly- 
charged it on the wilfulness of the men, (or women,) 
and then regarded himself in the light of a responsible 
party, who was conscientiously held to the duty of pun- 
ishment. He established it as a rule, therefore, that if 
one of the men gave out before dinner, he should have 
no dinner ; if before supper, (as was generally the case,) 
no supper. 

How many times the poor old, heart-broken creatures 
went supperless to bed, let " the opening of the books" 
declare, for Siddleton was too much exasperated by his 
disappointment, to flinch. The paupers, however, among 
themselves, had inaugurated a system which, despite 
the police regulations of Mr. and Mrs. Siddleton, afford- 
ed them partial relief. This was simply a system ot 
begging. Dan was particularly successful in this sort 
of foraging. Taking with him an old bag, he wandered 
off some distance from home, often two, four and six 
miles, varying his field of operations to avoid too great 
frequency of application, and frequently returned with 
a large quantity of provision, of every possible kind and 
quality, which was freely passed around among the 
company. But for this timely supply, Mr. Siddleton's 
meagre looking folks had we fear, during this period, 
paid larger installments than ever they had before on 
the great debt of Nature. 

The sun had hardly gone down, when Mrs. Siddleton 
entered the sitting-room of her dependent household 
with her scalding hot tea and smoking hot cream and 
buttered toast. Let us show you some of them. 

Here is the widow Prescott, nearly ninety years of 



376 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

age, not yet quite purified in iha furnace, and so her 
trial-day lasts on. Here is Dan, trembling with the 
breaking up of his strong constitution, and shrinking 
and wasting like other feeble men ; and Bill is half bed- 
rid and lame, his mind being stronger than his frame ; 
and there sits Tucker on a chest, leaning on a stalDF, look- 
ing out of ghastly eyes, and holding up an unshaven 
face, ugly and hateful. Within that room where there 
is an opened door, on his bed, groaning in his bodily 
suffering, is Hicks, the old man, who is not long for 
earth. There, in another room, are two women in one 
bed : these are Mag Davis and Roxy. Roxy is failing ; 
she has not been well for several weeks ; but this causes 
her no particular feeling. She is more disturbed about 
the non-fulfillment of that dream of Mag's, than any thing 
else of mortal or immortal thought. She often asks, 
"Will it not be fulfilled, Mag?" And Mag answers, 
" Yes !" Mag Davis is tired and hungry, and expects no 
supper on account of offending her mistress in the morn- 
ing. Mag holds well to life. Aunt Wakeup sits rock- 
ing herself to and fro in another room, smoking her pipe, 
and talking vehemently and rapidly through her long, 
thin skeleton lips to sister Peters — poor, forsaken, cough- 
ing old invalid, one of these days to pass off! 

Here also, in another quarter, in the vnug opening 
beyond, are the paupers Rogers, aunt Jemima Hildreth, 
Mrs. Upham, Sam. White, Susan Carpenter, and Harry 
the deaf boy. 

They wear a hungry, wan-looking, wretched aspect, 
and seem nerveless, irresolute, and stupified. Their 
garments hang flapping over their loose and lean anato- 
my like the wet, dripping, and torn canvass of a vessel 
around the bending yards and ropes. There is a cadav- 
erous expression on their countenances, a ghastlv, furi- 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 377 

ous, lean look, that makes one shrink away. Their 
breathing makes the air of the room loathsome beyond 
the freshening breezes of the outside to sweeten — a 
smell of mouldy ink, of rusty rope, of dark, unventilated 
closets, filled with old and musty shoes and soiled gar- 
ments. It smells of wounds undressed and festered ; of 
hair uncombed for long ; of scurvy-fever left unwashed 
upon the surface, and a visitation oft of death-air in first 
at this, and anon at that, window of the house. Their 
movements are tottering, or carelessly bold and slatter- 
ing. Their bearing towards you is timid or lawless, to- 
wards each other stupid and aimless. Here they live, 
sicken, starve, tremble, mourn and die. Crowded toge- 
ther in rooms that Would poorly accommodate four per- 
sons, are nearly twenty paupers ; and still — it might he 
woi'se!* 

It was here that the matron of this charnel house, 
Mrs. Siddleton, betook herself with her unusual supply 
of good things for an evening repast. 

" Come," said she, " good people, I have brought you 

* In the N. Y. Evangelist of July 16, 1857, we find the following. It shows us 
a little how the victims of intemperance and poverty live in that city. — Auth. 

" As an evidence of the moral and physical need of the ' Five Points,' the follow- 
ing indicates it pretty fully : 

" 'Recently, Mr. Pease found a dying woman in a foul apartment in Cowbay, 
occupied also by eight other women and one man, all drunken and infamous in the 
last extreme. In the upper end of the same pestilent court or close, were found, in 
ffteen rooms, twenty-three families, making an aggregate of one hundred and 
seventy-nine persons, or twelve to a room! In Jive of these fifteen rooms, intoxi- 
cating liquors were kept for sale! Indescribable filth, privation, disease, and in- 
decency reigned through them all ; yet seventeen children from these rooms attend 
the schools of the House of Industry. In eleven other rooms were eighteen families, 
and in nearly half of these rooms ardent spirits were sold. In one of the garrets 
lived two negroes with eleven abandoned white women. In twelve other rooms were 
found twenty-four families, consisting of one hundred and four persons. Here were 
two blind women, two just past the peril of child-birth ; and seventy-one were chil- 
dren, only eight of whom attended any school, and these attended a papist school.' " 



378 N?w England's chattels ; oe, 

a little nice and warm tea and toast ; will you like a cup 
of good tea ?" 

There was so much of the kindly tone of child or 
mother in the words she uttered, that every soul of them 
for the moment forgot what the kindness was that they 
announced ; and they started from their various dull 
and sinking attitudes into almost the forms of earnest, 
living men and women. Only Roxy whispered to Mag 
as the latter leaped into the middle of the floor, seizing 
wildly her arm, and staring up into her eyes — " I'm 
afraid of her ; she's crazy, or has poisoned it !" 

" Pshaw 1 you simpleton," said Mag, " it's only natur." 
And now they gathered in and about her, the old, the 
lame, the maimed and the blind ; the bed-ridden and 
feeble ones reached out their wasted arms, and stretch- 
ed wide open their great, feverish eyes from out their 
hollow caves, .searching for their portion, and rewarding 
the giver with their tears. And when the savory toast 
went round, and their mistress bade them eat of it to 
their content, they invoked on her the blessing of the 
poor, and of those that were ready to perish. 

" We've nothing to pay you for this," said one. 
■ " All can feel grateful," said another. 

" It's a good soul that's done it," said Bill. 

" Mercy on us ! said madam Wakeup. " This is like 
old times with Eunice and I." 

" The Lord gives us friends," said widow Prescott. 

" Bless the Lord 1" exclaimed Hicks, on his bed. . 

" It's mighty good, ain't it ?" said Roxy, recovered 
from her alarm. 

" I hope Mrs. Siddleton will forgive Mag for her sulki- 
ness 1" said the humbled old crone, receiving a supper 
of hot tea and toast with the rest. 

" Never mind, Mag," said Mrs. Siddleton. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 379 

After these things the paupers fared better during the 
balance of Siddleton's year. Mrs. Siddleton got hold of 
the other end of the Bible and became a very good 
teacher and comforter. The poor souls needed it, alas ! 

Did Mr. Siddleton commit suicide in his room that 
evening ? No, he did not. 

Did Mr. Siddleton go~into apoplexy? No. Did he 
get crazy ? No, he did not fall crazy. What in the 
world did happen to him ? He burnt up the candle, 
found himself exceedingly languid and almost faint over 
his cogitations ; so he quickly undressed, rolled himself 
up in the bed-clothes, and slept till morning. 



380 NEW England's CHATTELS ; or, 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 

The European Tour. — Blind Henrietta, a Teacher of Good Things. 

Alice Boyce was now eighteen years of age, and there 
existed between her and James Sherman, who was nearly 
through with his studies, an engagement of marriage ! 
It was during this year that, accompanied by Mr. and 
Mrs. Rodman, Alice made a trip to England. They were 
absent nearly six months, and were received and enter- 
tained among the relatives of her father and mother with 
the greatest respect, some of whom were distinguished 
in position of refinement, intelligence and wealth. Her 
appearance was so pleasing to an elderly sister of her 
mother, Mrs. Gladstone, a widow, that she formed the 
plan immediately of making her heir to her property at 
her decease, and promised her a marriage portion of a 
thousand pounds. In every delicate way possible they 
endeavored to persuade her to remain with them, hold- 
ing out inducements that even she felt it hard to with- 
stand, and that would have been sufficient with many 
bound by slighter ties of gratitude, to induce a hearty 
compliance. But Alice had left America, fully aware of 
the force of the trial that awaited her in respect to many 
things of this nature, it being unnecessary that we should 
say more than this, that between herself and Mr. and Mrs. 
Hodman, a correspondence with friends in England, had 
long been secured. She promised her friends that at some 
future day, she would again visit them, and would never 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. j)81 

cease to cherish a lively impression of their love, their 
beautiful homes, and faces, their intelligence, piety and 
personal attentions. 

A personal young friend of the family of her uncle, 
Hugh Boyce, Esq., M. P., Sir Charles Raven, a gentle- 
man of much gravity, intelligence, wealth, paid her his 
marked attentions, and even sought a private interview 
through the medium of her uncle, to proffer to her his 
hand and fortune. Alice kindly, but firmly opposed it, 
and informed her uncle that her hand was already en- 
gaged to another, who also held entire possession of her 
heart, and begged him to decline the honor Sir Charles 
proposed to confer upon her, with many sincere regrets 
for the disappointment of his affections. 

The party wandered into Scotland, Wales and Ireland. 
They also visited Paris and Rome. They went to Gen- 
eva, and made the beautiful tour of the Rhine. Return- 
ing to England, after a month, passed rapidly and felicit- 
ously, they embarked on one of the ocean steamers for 
America, waving adieu to friends they had found so 
generous and kind abroad, in the hope of rejoining those 
they loved at home. 

Between the absent party and James, a constant and 
lively correspondence was maintained during the whole 
period of the journey. It formed no small part of the 
enjoyment of Alice's visit to write it in detailed para- 
graphs to her friend, nor did she pass silently over the 
matter in which Sir Charles sought to complicate her. 
To James, this was a source of slight annoyance and 
anxiety. He had no real fear of her integrity. But he 
could comprehend sufficiently to awaken his solicitude, 
that the force of the lemptaticn might be very great, 
and if it did not prove sufficient to break off her engage- 
ment, it might be an after reflection of disappointment, 



382 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

or of chagrin. Her letters, however, dispelled his 
uneasiness, and he looked forward with a lover's impa- 
tience to her return. 

It must not be thought by the reader that in the 
meantime our young friend Jims had forgotten his early 
history, nor that with attention to present personal du- 
ties, he is unmindful of the sufferers among whom were 
passed the years of his boyhood. 

Not a day passes that he forgets them in his prayers 
— for James has learned to pray ! 

Not a dollar goes into his purse, without a portion 
being laid by for the poor who have no money. All his 
useless clothing he gives to them, and to the relief of 
other poor in town in danger of the poor-house. Often 
through his solicitation he procures for them the chari- 
table donations of other persons ; and especially urges 
those who are weak and almost despairing, yet out of 
the poor-house, to make every possible exertion for their 
own support, promising them aU the help in his power, 
to keep aloof from " the tender mercies of the town, for 
they are cruel." 

It is a morning of summer. Blind Henrietta, who has 
been the stay and staff of her father's helpless years, is 
sick and languishing, and with difficulty her father can 
procure for her what is wanted from the pantry and the 
closet to make her comfortable. But he makes the en- 
deavor — Henrietta is to him more than silver and gold. 
She is his hands and feet, his bank, his provider and 
daily nurse. By her industry he has a home of his own, 
and is saved from the poor-house. This, to Captain 
Bunce, is more than all other mercies. The poor-house 
is, in his eyes, a terrible reality ; not a greater neces- 
sity than a scourge of retaliation for one's own past sins 
and cruelties. 



LIFE IN THE NOETHEEN POOE-HOUSE. 383 

Henrietta is a simple, confiding girl, a child of nature, 
and she loves her father dearly, being quite unaware of 
any great dereliction on his part from the great perfect 
road of righteousness. To her, he has been ever a kind, 
an affectionate parent, and in her heart's deepest cells, 
she loves him, and loves nobody beside as much. She 
never loved mother, brother or sister as she loved him. 
And she pities him for his misfortunes, while she esteems 
it a special permission of good Providence that she has 
been spared to comfort him in them. She wonders 
what God will do for him when she is taken away, if 
taken away she is, before him. But as some way seems 
to be provided for every body, she thinks " God will 
not forget her papa." So she finds something to com- 
fort her even on a sick bed. 

" And how do you feel now, Hetty, since I made you 
that cup of tea ?" said her father. 

" It seems to me I am a good deal revived. Don't 
you think I look brighter for it ?" 

" Why, yes, I rather think it lias chirked you up, 
Hetty. A cup of good hot tea often raises one consi- 
derable." 

" I believe it does, father ; I've often seen it do you 
good." 

*' Oh ! Lord, yes, my dear. I have had a great many 
good cups of tea of your dressing." 

" Well, father, you will find a small loaf of bread in the 
jar down in the cellar, and a little piece of dried beef, 
and a bit of butter, and a wee pot of jelly in the cup- 
board. Now go right off and get them for your supper ; 
now do, while the tea is hot, father, will you?" 

" Now, Hetty, I am thinking I'd better not, for you'U 
want them yourself. You've only eaten a small piece 
of a cracker. I think the jelly and the beef would do 
you a great deal of good." 



384 NEW ENGLAND S CHATTELS ; OK, 

" No, no, father, please go and eat them. I don't need 
any thing else to-night, and shall sleep a very good 
sleep." 

" I am right glad to hear you say so, Hetty, but I 
really think you haven't a very smart appetite ; and 
you know a body must eat, or he can't get strength." 

" I know that ; but my appetite and strength will 
come both together by-and-bye, when the fever goes 
away. I never can bear simply to make myself eat if I 
don't want food." 

" No, neither can I, Hetty ; and so to-night I will just 
make the tea a little hotter, and make a supper on 
crackers too." 

" And a little beef, papa, do !" 

" Well, yes — a little beef ; that will be good." 

" Very, indeed !" said she. 

And so they lived together, helping each other in 
their infirmity. The Captain sat down by the little 
table and drank his tea, while Hetty talked to him, and 
fanned herself upon the bed. 

" We are much better off, father, than the poor folks." 

" Oh ! dear, yes. They are suffering, miserable peo- 
ple." 

" And, father, how do so many persons in the world 
come to poverty ?" 

" Oh, Lord ! child, I don't know — suppose it happens 
so." 

" So I suppose, too. And riches with some people 
happen, too ?" 

" Yes ; nobody knows who'll be rich or who'll be 
poor." 

" I suppose the rich people never know any thing 
about suffering ?" 

" They try not to, Hetty ?" 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 385 

" And can't they get rid of it ?" 

" No ; they are sometimes sicker than you or I ever 
are." 

" Why, father, they have the best of doctors and 
medicines, you know !" 

" Yes ; but don't you know they die, Hetty ?" 

" I know that ; but, I was thinking they died easy. 
They have rich, soft beds and pillows, and so many to 
wait on them." 

" It don't make a farthing's difference, child. They're 
just as dependent as any body when they come to the 
pinch." 

" And that seems strange I Can't any of the doctors 
help them ?" 

" Sometimes the doctors help us, you know ; so they 
sometimes help them. But they would have a poor 
means of living if it were not for a great many sick rich 
folks." 

" So they would, indeed, father ! Why didn't I think 
of that ! You always tell me something I hadn't thought 
of before." 

" You see, Hetty, I am around more than you are, 
and notice things how they are done ; that's all the dif- 
ference." 

" Well, perhaps it is," said she. " I wonder if there's 
many sick people now at the poor-house ? Do you 
know, father ?" 

" No, not exactly ; some are sick, I believe." 

" Is old Avidow Prescott alive, father ?" 

" Yes, she's living, and Tucker and Mag and Roxy ; 
so is BiU and old Dan." 

" Any more alive ?" 

" No, not that used to live with us." 

" All dead and gone ?" 

17 



380 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" Yes." 

" Well, wasn't it lucky that Jims got away and found 
a good home ?" 

** Yery good for Jims." 

" Yes it was — I was so glad /" 

The Captain's recollections thus stimulated, seemed 
to him a little less pleasing on that point than her's, but 
she noticed it not, and the father said, " Jims has proved 
a smart boy." 

" He will be a great man, won't he ?" 

" I think it likely ; but we can't tell, you know." 

"I really think he will though, and a very good 
man." 

" Well, Hetty, you must not talk too much. It will 
tire you. Can't you get a little sleep now ?" 

" I do not feel wearied a bit ; but if you think best, I 
will try to sleep." 

" It will do you good." 

" There is one thing, father i" 

" What, my child ?" 

" How I should love to see old aunt Prescott." 

" Why so ?" 

" Because she's so good." 

"Good!" 

" Yes, she talks so good." 

" Oh, yes. She's a saint, undoubtedly." 

" She loves the Bible and knows it all by heart. How 
I wish I could hear her talk about it. I have never for- 
gotten what she used to tell me." 

" What did she say ?" 

" She said the Bible was meant for the poor and 
needy and sick and blind. ' Come unto me all ye that 
labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest 
' That,' said she, ' is the spirit of the Gospel.' " 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 387 

" I suppose/' said Captain Bimce, regarding his poor 
child with affection, and contrition, and pity, " I sup- 
pose, my daughter, she was right. We must all go to 
Him for rest." 

" Must we — ^must every body ? Is it He that gives 
rest of soul to such as go to him ?" 

" Yes, I suppose so. That's what the Christians 
say." 

" Well, father, then let us go to Him — will you go 
with me ? Go to Him that gives the weary rest ?" 

Captain Bunce never had such an appeal before — 
never one that so shook him from head to foot, and con- 
vulsed his chest, and choked his utterance. 

" Let us both go to Him, father, and we shall obtain 
the promise — one as well as the other." 

Still the Captain said nothing in reply, only he shook 
and sobbed till the poor girl heard his heavy breathings 
and begged him to come near her. Then she threw her 
arms around his neck, and said, " though our sins be as 
scarlet, they shall be as wool, though they be red like 
crimson, they shall be white like snow." 

Her father bowed his head on the pillow and wept, 
and she also shed with him a flood of tears, as she mur- 
mured a prayer, beginning — " Our Father who art in 
Heaven." 

" We have, dear father, a Saviour — an ' all-suflScient 
Saviour' aunt Prescott called him ; and it is he that bids 
us come to him. He it was who healed the sick — who 
opened the 'eyes of the blind — who raised Lazarus from 
the dead — who, when he was himself crucified and 
buried, rose again to life and went up to Heaven. He 
is the Judge of the world, and the Redeemer of men. I 
begin to love him for his love, to triumph in his glory, 
and to confide in his promise. Oh ! father, let us follow 



388 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

him to prison and to death, through evil report and 
good, till we die." 

"It seems to me, my daughter, that I will," said the 
liumbled father. 

" Oh, what a blessed thing to us, then, is that pro- 
mise, ' I will give jou rest !' " said the weeping invalid. 

" May be it means spiritual rest," said her father. 

" May be it does. How comforting to feel, then, our 
sins forgiven for his sake, aiid all our iniquities purged 
away !" 

" That, oh ! that," said her father, " is what I need ; 
for I have sinned greatly, and have lightly esteemed the 
rock of my salvation." 

The poor girl wept ; the father bowed down and 
prayed. 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 389 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 

Christian Benevolence. — Dan. 

Between Mr. and Mrs. Haddock and James, there 
still continued a friendship of the strongest nature. 
The latter remembered them in connection with every 
incident of his boyhood that had any bearing on his 
after-life of freedom and happiness. Had it not been 
for them, he confessed he might still be a gaping, half- 
idiotic fool, in rags and deep poverty, the chattel of the 
town. He frequently called at their house — running in 
at breakfast, dinner, or tea, as it best suited him, or 
passing the evening and" night. They called him one 
of their children. 

In concert with each other, they often formed some 
plan of visiting the poor at their rendezvous, the poor- 
house, or of carrying relief to such of the inhabitants of 
the town as they knew were pressed with hard fortune. 

About the time the events alluded to in the last chap- 
ter occurred, Mrs. Haddock asked James when he would 
accompany her on a visit to Henrietta and her father. 

" I have some little things that I wish to give Hetty," 
said she. 

" Day after to-morrow I will go," said he. 

" Is it some time since you were there ?" she asked. 

" I have been there within five or six weeks," he 
answered. 

" I visited them three weeks ago with Mr. Haddock," 



390 NEW England's chattels; or, 

said she, " and Henrietta was not very well at that 
time. Although I presume it was only the result of 
fatigue and over-exertion to support her father, yet I 
am quite anxious to see her again." 

" Go by all means," said her husband. 

** Let us take Ellen with us," said James. 

" Ellen is going to pass the week at her sister Frances'." 

" Too bad, Ellen !" said James. 

" Yes, I should think so, if I didn't hope for some 
other opportunity," said she. 

" I would not deprive Fanny of your visit on any ac- 
count. And you look for me at tea some evening, too, 
will you ?" 

" Oh, yes — with pleasure." 

" Well, then, I will not fail to be there. And, by the 
way, tell Mr. Maitland and Fanny that we expect our 
tourists home the first of September." 

" Ah I is it possible ?" said all. " Then you have just 
heard?" 

" Yes, this morning," said he. " They have returned 
to London, and will not fail to leave for home about the 
middle of August." 

This was very pleasing news to the company. Mr. 
and Mrs. Rodman were very happy in their parochial 
relations, having secured the regard of the greater por- 
tion of the people, old and young. Their absence was a 
source of regret to the parish, but not of discontent. 
On the contrary, they had encouraged them in taking 
the excursion, and readily contributed in part to its 
expense, in the meantime paying a young unmarried 
minister a hundred dollars a month to supply the pulpit. 

True to his appointment, James appeared at Mr. Had- 
dock's to accompany Mrs. Haddock to the cottage of 
Captain Bunce. They arrived there about eleven in 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 391 

the forenoon. It was a very ordinary looking dwelling, 
very small, very common ; but the hand of neatness had 
evidently been there ; and all round the building there 
were marks of taste that reconciled one to the lowly 
looks of the cottage itself. 

Our friends were surprised to find Henrietta so ill. 

" Why did you not send up word to me ?" said Mrs. 
Haddock, reproachfully, though tenderly. 

" I had no opportunity," said she ; " and I did not feel 
as much unwell as now until Monday last. Since then 
I have looked for you, and have greatly desired to see 
you." 

" I am very glad that I came. Now I shall stay with 
you all day, and James can return with the horse when 
he feels obliged to. Mr. Haddock will come for me at 
evening." 

" I am in no haste," said he, " and I should like to talk 
with the Captain awhile when he comes in." 

"Father will be home directly, I think," said Hen- 
rietta. " He has gone into the woods for winter green 
leaves and spruce to make himself a little beer. I think 
he can't have gone far." 

" I will wait awhile," said James, " and if he should 
not return will go for him. And how is your father, 
Henrietta?" 

" He is pretty well, I think, and very attentive to me 
now." 

" I am very happy to hear that," said Mrs. Haddock. 

" It is very good in him certainly," said James. " You 
have been always a help to him, and he must feel your 
sickness very sensibly." 

" Just see here, Henrietta, what a huge bouquet of 
roses we have brought you ! James and Sarah made it 
before we left home." 



392 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" "Why ! it is perfectly delicious and reviving," said 
Hetty. " Thank you, sir, and thank Sarah for me — the 
dear girl, I wish she had come with you." 

" Oh ! Sarah is my main ' arm' at home. I could hard- 
ly keep house but for her. She will manage in my ab- 
sence very well, and see that her father's dinner is ready 
for him in season." 

" Yes, Sarah is a sterling girl," said James, " and a 
great favorite of her father and mother." 

" She is the youngest, Mr. James," said Mrs. Haddock. 

" Well, there is something in that I grant," said he. 

" She must come and see me as often as she can ; may 
she, Mrs. Haddock ? You know I can't go about a 
great deal, and am a * home body ' on my own and on 
father's account." 

" She certainly may come often. Here is one of her 
custard pies for you, made by herself. And here are a 
few biscuit, and some bread, and a little jar of quince 
jelly for you, and so on. And her father has sent you 
some meat in the basket. So you need not feel any un- 
easiness about food for the present. The girls have 
sent you down several little articles of dress, Henrietta, 
which we will look at by and bye. 

" They are kind — ^you are all so kind," said she. " 1 
can hardly bear it, especially as I can do nothing to re- 
pay you." 

" Ohl Hetty, never mind about that, do not speak so. 
We have done nothing that was not our duty to do. 
We should be poorly paid if we looked for some return, 
for freely we have received, and freely we must give." 

" Were it not for you, we may have been obliged be- 
fore this wholly to go upon the town," said she, " and 
that we both shrink from. But now we do not fear it 
as much as we once did." 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 393 

" Oh, I hope and trust there will be no necessity for 
taking that step," said Mrs. Haddock, " and if you do 
not think there will be, why of course it is not very 
likely to happen." 

" I did not mean to be understood precisely so, 
ma'am," said the deeply sensitive and affected Hetty. 
" We are but a little way from pauperism, although 
through your kindness, and my own work, and what the 
town has given us here, we have had sufficient means 
for our support. But where there is poor health, such 
as both father and I have, and nothing laid up ' against 
a wet day,' the danger is very great of coming to want. 
I, however, meant to say, that father looks at tilings vjitJi 
a different eye, Mrs. Haddock, and he seems so resigned — 
that's what I referred to." 

" Dear child ! dear Hetty ! Bless you, my dear friend, 
how you have awakened my surprise and gratitude. 
How is it — pray tell me ?" 

" Sure enough," said James, " we rejoice at the good 
news." 

" It is nothing that ought not to be the case always," 
said Hetty. " Have we not received of the Lord, and 
shall we not repay him with our love ! So I had the 
other evening a long good talk with father about aunt 
Prescott, and her love of the Bible, and how I wished 
she would come here and talk with me ; and we both of 
us got deeper and deeper and deeper into the subject, 
till we both said we would go to Him who in the New 
Testament invites the weary and heavy laden to come 
to Him for rest. And if you will believe it, fither was 
so much overcome, that he sobbed aloud, and kneeled 
down and prayed ! And so it has been ever since. He 
prays a humble, penitent prayer, and says the Lord may 
do with him as seemeth to Him best." 

17* 



394 NEW England's chattels ; ob, 

Mrs. Haddock covered her eyes with her handkerchief, 
and for a moment she could not utter a word. But she 
pressed the hand of Hetty in her's, and silently lifted 
her heart in thankfulness to God. 

" Well, I declare," said James, " your narrative has 
interested me exceedingly. I rejoice with you, and I 
trust you will both find friends enough to keep you 
henceforth from all fear of the poor-house. I think if 
they don't, the Lord will." 

" Yes, yes," said Mrs. Haddock, " never doubt that. I 
am glad that you have been able to tell me this. No- 
thing, not even thousands of silver and gold, could do 
you so much good as that peace of mind which is of 
God, and that leads one to confide in him, and to rejoice 
in his government over us." 

" I am ignorant, very ignorant, so is father, of the 
Bible. But we now mean to read and study it more 
every day." 

" That is right — that is the true way to enlighten the 
mind, for the Word of God is a light unto our path and 
a lamp unto our feet, and it is able through faith to 
make us wise unto eternal life. We are, moreover, in- 
structed to search the Scriptures, and to believe in them 
as the record God has given us of his Son, Jesus Christ. 
They unfold a most sublime and most beautiful system 
of mercy, justice and benevolence in the government of 
God, and are indeed to one as a well of water springing 
up into eternal life. The Bible, Hetty, will be a great 
source of enjoyment to you now, and I do feel most hap- 
py that you have come to find its value, both you and 
your father," 

" Yes, it is a joyful piece of intelligence," said James. 
" I must see your father — I wonder he is out so long." 

" He will come soon, I think," said Hetty. 



LIFE IN :he northern poor-house. 395 

" I will go out and find him ; you know I love to roam 
in these woods. Hereabout I used to fish in those cold 
winter days for Boyce, and roam for nuts in the sum- 
mer. Oh, Hetty ! do you remember those times — was 
it not a singular sort of life ! Don't it look like pure fic- 
tion—eh?" 

" A sorry sort of one," said she. 

" Yes, indeed — ' a sorry sort of one,' " said Mrs. Had- 
dock. 

" Oh, to be sure," said he. " But a real one. I de- 
clare to you it rises to my view every day of my life, as 
the strangest and yet most interesting and eventful 
thing that could ever have happened to me — and, in- 
deed, as a most strange and singular life to us all, 
abounding in circumstances of melancholy interest from 
first to last, but not wanting points of positive enjoy- 
ment. It was a wild, painful life, motionless, wretched. 
We shall have better things, Hetty," said he, " bet- 
ter things at the poor-house soon !" 

" Indeed !" 

" Yes, we shall see the old manner of supporting the 
poor abandoned ; and they will occupy a large house 
and live on a fine farm, and work at good trades in 
shops, and be again men and women. I shouldn't object 
to living among them myself if it should be found 
necessary." 

" Are you sure it will be so ?" inquired the poor girl, 
almost with an earnestness of wildness. 

" We think there is little doubt of it," said both Mrs. 
Haddock and James 

" Then," said she, " father can be comfortable if he 
should be left alone and friendless !" 

" Don't grieve for your father, Hetty, we will see 
that he is taken good care of. He will not want for 
friends." 



396 NEW ENGLAND S CHATTELS ; OR, 

" Well, then, if that is so, Mag Davis' dream will come 
to pass, won't it ? How strange !" said Hetty. And so, 
as they asked her about it, she had to tell them of Mag's 
i(iream. James said Mag had told it to him years ago, 
and predicted its fulfillment partly on his own good for- 
tune. 

" They might have been something, those paupers — 
they were not all demented nor demoralized," said James 
— " if their poverty had been made respectable. Tliere 
was and is the error. It was put down so low, that it 
effectually crushed them. If they had any desire to rise, 
they could not ; and they were shut out of the pale of 
Christian benevolence by a selfishness that denied them 
any true commiseration. They were neither respected 
nor pitied. Indeed, as paupers, they occupied little at- 
tention any way. Little was expected of them. They 
were viewed as past their usefulness, and a burden. So 
the paupers were an incumbrance in life, and in death 
were hardly worth the cost of the undertaker's bill. A 
bill introduced into one of our Legislatures to give the 
bodies of paupers to surgeons, was probably to get rid 
of the expense of burying them.* Oh ! there is no 
boundary to human selfishness. Give it fair play, and 
it Avould strip the earth of every thing green, and the 
sky of every tiling bright. It has instituted this system 
of supporting poor folks. There is no Christian benevo- 
lence in it. The object is to save a greater expense by 
preparing for this. Paupers left to roam at large would 
demoralize the country, and be a heavy tax on indivi- 
duals. So they are put into one common charge, as the 
town's worn-out property, like old wagons with rattling 
spokes and broken arms ; carts with broken tire and 
axle ; stoves rusted through, and valueless pails with 

* New York Sun, Jan. 8, 1857 See page 



LIFE lil THE NOETHEEN POOE-HOUSE. 307 

broken handles, dresses too often patched to be longer 
worth the thread to mend them, brooms worn short up, 
an old horse without teeth to grind his food " 



" Why, James !" said Hetty. 

" Quite a picture !" said Mrs. Haddock. 

" I know it," said he, " but it's the truth. Do not the 
poor-house laws disfranchise men, sell them at auction, 
refuse them a vote, forbid them to serve on a jury, (but 
not to be judged^ take away their children, refuse to 
sanction a freedom of marriage, or always to legalize it ; 
and as we have seen, would not many be found willing 
to give their ' dead bodies to the surgeons V (You 
may condemn the system of slavery, but remember your 
own glass house.) And to complete the picture, sell 
them on the block, in public town-meeting, to the low- 
est bidder ! Here is our Christian institution. I have 
a right to speak of it, and to denounce it. I have seen 
and felt it. I have on my body now its seal. This is 
Northern Christianity and humanity ! This is the com- 
passion of enlightened free citizens But I will not go 

on. I will leave you and go after Captain Bunco." 

So saying, James strolled out into a dense grove on 
the border of the old pond where he had formerly spent 
a good many da^^s in fishing. Following a path that led 
through it to a large open field beyond, he was about to 
cross a ravine through which a small stream was pass- 
ing, when the sound of voices arrested him ; and look- 
ing attentively through the hemlock boughs that hung 
thickly around, he saw two men seated on a log at the 
edge of the stream, quite earnestly engaged in talking. 
One of these was the Captain — the other, after a little 
scrutiny, he discovered to be none other than Dan Barnes. 

Knowing very well the wandering, gipsy manner of 
liie the paupers led, and Dan in particular, he waa not 



?98 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

surprised to see him. Hesitating whether to retire or 
to advance, he heard enough to satisfy him that their 
conversation was on the subject of religion. Curious to 
know what these two men would say on a theme they 
had not usually been accustomed to regard with much 
solemnity of feeling, he continued in the concealment of 
the boughs for some minutes. The men had evidently 
been sitting there and talking for a good while. The 
Captain had gathered a bundle of spruce boughs for his 
beer, and they lay beside him. In like manner, Dan 
had replenished his foraging bag, and it lay near on the 
ground. He was evidently listening attentively to the 
conversation of the other, w^ith his head bent forward 
and his eyes on the ground. The other was sitting 
facing him ; and as he talked, he frequently elevated 
his hand and reached it out, and pointed with his finger 
as men do when engaged in conversation — especially 
when in argument one w^ould convince or persuade 
another. 

Without being near enough to hear connected sen- 
tences, James was satisfied that the Captain was endea- 
voring to impress on the mind of his listener the great 
riches of salvation, and to induce him, a poor, lost and 
guilty being, to make them his. 

James would not interrupt the scene. He was about 
to withdraw, when he was overwhelmed with the sight 
of those men, w^hom he had known as hardened in sin, 
violent in temper, and personally hateful to each other, 
kneeling down together as if in the attitude of prayer 1 

Silently withdrawing to the edge of the wood, he there 
waited ten or fifteen minutes till Captain Bunce came up 
with his bundle of twigs, when the two passed on to the 
cottage, James remarking an unusual expression of seri- 
ousness and truth resting on the countenance of his old 
master. 



LIFE IN THE NOETHEEN POOE-HOUSE. 399 

It indeed seemed almost too good to be true, that one 
Vv^liose course of life had been so misdirected and violent 
as that of Captain Bunce, should be led in his advancing 
years to honor, by his faith and repentance, the cross of 
Christ. But is it not of the lost and guilty among men 
the followers of the Lamb are to be chosen ? Was he 
too guilty to repent and too old in sin to show his faith ? 
Might we not expect of his class larger numbers would 
be gathered into the fold, and be found the most labo- 
rious and serviceable of disciples ? Yea, verily, for says 
the Son of God, " Go ye rather to the lost sheep of the 
house of Israel. * * * I came not to call the righteou.s 
but sinners to repentance." 



400 NEW England's chattels j or, 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

Mi-R E. Flush argues for the Sacred Scriptures rs. the righteous poor. It is well to 
let the Scriptures interpret themselves on some questions ; when we interpret 
them, it is very often to favor our cause. But if you are in want of a good, 
sagacious interpreter of Holy Writ, send for Emeline Flush. 

Among the inmates of the poor-house, we have spoken 
of Joshua Hicks, an aged, bed-ridden pauper. His life 
had been one of great vicissitude and some suffering. 
He "was a native of Crampton, and of a highly educated 
and respectable family. When a boy he was regarded 
as the best mathematician in the schools of the town. 
At twenty-one he was formally voted as the town surveyor. 
Nearly all the early surveys of land in that town had 
been made or re-examined by him during a period of 
forty years. His disposition inclining him to see foreign 
parts, he had several times made voyages to sea, as cir- 
cumstances favored it, and had twice been round the 
world. He had made large collections of shells and 
minerals and plants, from the different places and parts 
of the world visited, the Pacific Islands, the Mediter- 
ranean, its Asiatic and African coasts, Capes Horn and 
Good Hope, India and Japan, the Coasts of Norway, 
Sweden and Denmark, the distant waters of the Black 
Sea. Thrice he was shipwrecked. The jolague seized 
him in the East, and he nearly lost his life. He was 
never long at a time, over three or five years, it is cer- 
tain, absent from home. He was never married, but 
when he was thirty years of age, a young lady died to 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 401 

whom he was engaged, and caused him his first and 
deepest earthly sorrow. Within the next ten years, his 
father and mother died, and his only brother. Engaging 
in mercantile pursuits, he was burnt out and lost his 
property. When sixty years of age he removed to an- 
other State and continued there four years, but returned 
to Crampton, where he followed the business of survey- 
ing till he was seventy-five, and was fined during that 
period sixty-seven dollars for bringing into the town a 
pauper.* Soon after he was seventy-five years of age, 
he became very ill and lost the use of one of his limbs. 
His general strength also failed him, and having no re- 
lations within the proper legal boundaries to afi:brd him 
aid, he was partially supported by the town till his 
eighty -fifth year.f After this he became a pauper in re. 
Slowly but surely the surveying and voyaging of Joshua 
Hicks brought him round to the narrow limits of life at 
the poor-house. 

Sam White, the poor shoemaker — yes, what of him ? 
He was not a native of Crampton, but acquired a set- 
tlement there — so it was finally decided, a suit at law 
having arisen on the question whether he belonged to 
Crampton or to Oakville, his native town, or to Hare- 
town, where he had also lived. 

It was proved, however, that he lost his residence in 
Oakville, never truly had one in Haretown, and just 
gained it by only one week in Crampton. But for this, 
he would have become a State pauper.:]: 

In Haretown he resided a part of ten years. But he 
also resided in three other towns a portion of the same 
ten years, never long enough to acquire a title to the 
support of either town. Once, it is true, he owned a 

* See Conn. Statutes, f Father, mother, grandfather or grandmother, brother or 
Bister, children or grandchildren. % One who has no legal settlement in the State. 
— Conn. Law. 



402 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

piece ot real estate in Haretown, paid taxes on it and 
voted. But the amount was not enough to answer the 
law, as it was proved on trial.* 

In Crampton, he resided a year and then left the 
town and also the State. He returned to it again in six 
months and remained, industriously prosecuting his 
trade for about two years, when he again removed. He 
was unknown at Crampton then for thirteen months, 
when one day, about the first of January, he appeared 
again in that village and put himself to hard industry 
at his shoe bench. Five years he thus supported him- 
self, w^hen he was seized with a fever and laid by from 
his bench f©r his maintenance during the rest of his 
life. On his recovery he performed slight service here 
and there for such persons as needed help, and begged 
some portion of his scanty subsistence. This he did 
for (as it was proved) the period of fifty-three weeks, 
when he left Crampton and went back to Haretown and 
Oakville, where he resided in all seven years, dividing 
his time between them. Happily (shall we say it?) for 
White he held over in Crampton that one week. It 
made sure his continuous residence in the State six 
years without, during any portion of that time, receiv- 
ing aid from the town authorities, and so he acquired a 
legal settlement there.f 

He was warned out of Haretown and Oakville during 
the periods of his last sojourn there in beggary, it being 
evident that he would sooner or later become some- 
body's pauper ! The authorities of the towns were as 
much afraid of him as of a wild beast that is hunted 

* See Conn., Vt., Mass. Laws, Chitty on Evidence, etc. 
f Six years residence in a town, if one has no real estate, and has had no help in 
that time from the town, constitutes a claim to a legal settlement. Where there is 
actual ownership of real estate to the value of three hundred and Cfty dollars, and 
taxes are paid on it, a legal settlement is secured. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERISr POOR-HOUSE. 403 

from place to place, and a price set on his head.* Un- 
fortunately for Crampton, it was proved that he had 
resided as a good and faithful citizen, a voter, and payer 
of a poll tax in that town the full period (though little 
more !) of six years, and Crampton had to meet his sup- 
port. He was now sixty years of age, and Siddleton 
made him hammer and stitch at his shoe-bench on the 
shoes of the paupers. 

Miss Peters, otherwise called Sister Peters, a tooth- 
less, feeble, wasted old specimen of single-blessedness, 
had been one of the gay beauties of a town where there 
was a large and very celebrated university. She enjoy- 
ed the highest facilities of fashionable life in the place, 
and went through several rounds of admirers in many a 
distinct and passing class of university students. But 
at length she lost her youth and beauty. Her coquetry 
and sentiment grew stale. The students paid attention 
to younger girls, and Miss Peters and her falling locks 
went by the board. Out of ten chances for matrimony, 
on which she reckoned as certain any time she wanted 
them, no one ever ripened. The pear looked beautiful 
for a time and then it blasted. In the waning of her 
triumphs. Miss Peters removed with her father to Cramp- 
ton, and at seventy-five years of age, after having been 
very serviceable there for years as a member of the 
Ladies' Sewing Society, and a pattern of virtue and in- 
dustry, she found herself too feeble to maintain herself, 
and with no friends able to support her. She came on 
to the hands of the authorities a feeble old woman, poor 

* According to Conn. Statutes, a poor man liable to come to a legal settlement in 
his poverty in tlie State may be warned out of town. 

Pauperism and Prosperitt. — The late John Avery Parker, a successful mer- 
chant of New Bedford, was at one time " warned" to leave Westport, Mass., under 
the old law or custom of warning strangers who were likely to become a public 
charge. He died worth $1,300,000— Ind. March 25, 18S3. 



404 NEW England's chattels ; oe, 

in purse, poor in health, poor in intellect, poor in 
every thing but poverty, and in that affluent ! 

Yet Miss Emeline Flush did not see how important it 
was in these respects that she should use all her art to 
secure the hand and heart of Lawyer John Tools. She 
played a long, systematic game of coquetry with that 
gentleman, and only surrendered under other and en- 
tirely different circumstances from those that Miss Pe- 
ters permitted to rule her. She idolized Mr. Tools, and 
Mr. Tools was half crazy for her. But Miss Flush didn't 
tell Mr. Tools how much she adored him ; nor did Mr. 
Tools get a convenient occasion to whisper to her his 
ruling passion for a good long day of trial. But Mr. 
Tools' attentions were very marked, and they were read 
by Miss Flush, and by Miss Shauney, and by Mrs. Cor- 
nelia Williams, a widow of thirty. Xhey were very evi- 
dent attentions, and Miss Flush knew it. 

But at length Miss Flush and Mr. Tools were com- 
pelled to make a declaration. Mr. Tools' was, that he 
had for several years admired her character, and that 
she possessed just the points of feminine loveliness that 
pleased him ; and he had no objection to a common lot 
with her, if agreeable. Miss Flush's was, that she had 
not thought much about it ; she had been otherwise 
pre-occupied in her thoughts ; she had a good home 
with her sister, and very little to care for in this world ; 
but she would confess that Lawyer Tools' attentions to 
her had not passed without her notice or reflection. 
She supposed it might be right for her to take the sub- 
ject into consideration, and she would do so. Mr. Tools 
thanked her, and begged the liberty to kiss her hand, 
which she neither gave nor declined \ so Mr. Tools took 
it gracefully to his lips. 

Theirs was a long courtship ; and it might have been 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 405 

longer, but that Miss Shauney began to die of love for 
Lawyer Tools, considering herself the object of a rea- 
sonable share of his attentions to warrant that course of 
action. Now Miss Flush could not endure this in Miss 
Shauney, and she made up her mind that Miss Shauney 
should for once in her life be disappointed. So when 
Lawyer Tools came round again, as he did every day, 
she gave him a most cordial welcome, and put so much 
personal regard into her manners, that if Mr. Tools had 
ever for a moment wavered in his attachment and devo- 
tion, there was an end to it now and forever. According- 
ly, when she gave him permission to kiss her hand again, 
(this was now the second permission of this sort,) as he 
stooped down to do it, she dexterously so interposed 
her cheek that Mr. Tools (who was altogether taken by 
surprise) could not help substituting it for her hand, to 
the heightening of her color and his own. Indeed, they 
Avere both compelled to sit down on the sofa side by 
side ; and Mr. Tools declared he was almost perfectly 
happy, and Miss Flush rewarded him with a long side 
glance, that spoke more than any words could. 

From this time Miss E. Flush consented to regard her- 
self as actually under an engagement of marriage to 
Lawyer John Tools ; and such was the understanding 
some time ago, and such is it even now — the parties not 
yet feeling at liberty to consummate the act of matri- 
mony, on account of the high rates of living and the 
dangers of a poor-house ! 

Miss Flush is also the same earnestly-engaged member 
and president of the Ladies' Sewing Society, and advo- 
cates doing more than ever to fill out missionary boxes, 
and to earn money by fairs, lottery sales, fortune-telling, 
and so forth, to repair churches, and to build up reli- 
gion ! This is Miss Flush's great, clear idea of Christian 



406 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

progress. She is opposed to almost all other kinds of 
benevolence — not perhaps from principle, but because 
it introduces confusion. She can't see things as clearly. 
The idea of a town farm-house and all its appendages to 
elevate the poor, and to relieve the sick and feeble ones, 
she does not consider as lying within the direct sphere 
of her woman's influence or efibrt. She thinks it a mat- 
ter that should be left to the action of the town authori- 
ties ; but she tells James Sherman that her " mind is 
open to conviction." 

" Then go with me and one or two of our ladies to the 
poor-house. Go to Mr. Siddleton's and see the poor 
creatures there for yourself." 

" I don't know but I may," said she. " I should like 
to see if they really come within the sphere of our ladies' 
benevolence. Should it prove so — should I perceive 
that they are really a forsaken and deserving class, most 
assuredly I should labor for their elevation and comfort." 

" You cannot fail to make this discovery, especially if 
degradation and misery, squalid poverty and misfortune 
have any claim to your regard and patronage. They are 
a conglomerate of good, bad, and indifferent characters, 
yet every one of them has a sensitive nature, a human 
intellect, more or less sound, and an immortal soul." 

" Are they not vicious and ill mannered ?" ' 

" They are not particularly offensive in these respects 
to strangers. They frequently utter oaths in their con- 
versations, and drop remarks on the spur of occasions 
you may not relish ; but generally they speak a very 
earnest and sincere language. And you should remem- 
ber that they are far the greater part native citizens of 
Cramp ton." 

" Born here !" 

" ' Born here 1' Of course they were, and they have 



LIFE IN THE NORTHEEN POOR-HOUSE. 407 

been in some instances persons of influence, refinement 
and piety." 

" I should doubt their ' piety ' I think, Mr. Sherman." 

" On what account — why may they not have piety ?" 

" Simply on Bible grounds I should place it. Do we 

not read in the Psalms,* ' I have been young and now I 

am old ; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor 

his seed begging bread ?' " 

" And do you quote this as showing that true Chris- 
tians may never become so poor as to want for bread ?" 
" I do ; I think the language is absolute." 
" It may be as to David's experience." 
" And that was a long life, Mr. Sherman." 
" True, it was ; yet he himself once begged bread of 
Ahimelech the priest, you remember." 

" Yes, he did ; but was not that a peculiar exception?" 

" The same that every rare case presents — nothing 

further. He was then seeking to escape the search of 

Saul. Exceptions to absolute and general statements 

of Scripture even, frequently arise." 

" Do you find them in this case of which the Psalmist 
so confidently speaks ?" 

" To be sure. Has not the Saviour taught us this ?" 
" In what manner, pray ?" 

" Oh ! well : in the case of persecution for righteous- 
ness' sake. * Ye shall be hated of all men for my sake, 
persecuted and driven from city to city, subsisting with 
the utmost difficulty in hunger, cold and nakedness. He 
that killeth you will think that he doeth God service.' 
Does not this imply poverty and great want ?" 
" What further instances of this nature ?" 
" These might be deemed sufficient to prove excep- 
tions ; they are, however, numerous — they almost indeed 

* Ps. S7 : 25. 



408 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

make of themselves a rule ; as for example, ' He that 
giveth a cup of water to a disciple in the name of a dis- 
ciple, shall not lose his reward.' The Saviour represents 
a case of desii^ or want in the one case, and of ability 
in the other. No proof here of absolute poverty or beg- 
gary, it is true, but it illustrates such a condition. We 
have the case given of Lazarus, covered with sores, beg- 
ging crumbs from the table of Dives. We are shown 
the proceedings of the last judgment — ' I was an hun- 
gered and ye gave me meat,' says the Judge, ' athirst 
and ye gave me drink ; naked and ye clothed me ; sick 
and in prison and ye came unto me, i. e., inasmuch as yo 
have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, 
ye have done it unto me.'" 

" These are all striking instances of Gospel grace to 
poor and undeserving sinners." said Miss Flush ; " but 
I hardly think they can be taken to disprove the posi- 
tive statement of so wonderful a saint as David. I 
might admit them as exceptions — still, I should hardly 
be willing to say that modern paupers were exceptions 
to this great Bible standard, so far, at least, as my own 
observation has gone." 

" You must certainly go and visit them. Miss Flush — 
go and see the old widow Prescott. She is a very ex- 
cellent old lady, and I think her a pious soul. But I 
wish to say further about this matter of argument on 
the words of David, that his language does not so much 
regard a state oi actual need of help — such, for instance, 
as our paupers are in — as that of vagrant beggary from 
door to door, although even that I hold might actually 
be witnessed, and not vitiate the words of the Psalmist. 
But there is a wide difference between a necessity of 
help and actual strolling beggary." 

" Do not the paupers stroll about begging?" 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 409 

" Some of them do : it is no admission against the ar- 
gument I advance if so ; but I do not believe it is cus- 
tomary for the professedly pious even of the, paupers to 
stroll about the country begging for food." 

" Well, Mr. Sherman, can we really put confidence in 
the professed piety of one v^^ho is actually in want of 
assistance to keep him from starving or beggary, in the 
face of such a sweeping standard, so plain and unambi- 
guous as that I have called to your notice ? Would it 
not almost lead to skepticism and infidelity to do away 
with the force of those words ?" 

" I must be allowed to say. Miss Flush, that your ad- 
herence to your own theological ideas, and your par- 
tiality for the truisms of the Bible, are deserving of 
great applause, viewing you merely in the light of a 
polemist. But I cannot avoid saying that you seem to 
move in a rather circumscribed orbit, which indeed 
hardly ever brings you where the light of the Gospel 
and the very words of Christ fall on you. But this is 
perhaps rather a consequence of your impregnable po- 
sition, than an evidence of weakness." 

" I adhere to it, Mr. Sherman, simply because it is 
represented as so absolute, universal, and necessary 
truth. I can not see a reason why it should be found 
longer among the sacred writings, if such arguments as 
have been advanced by you could for an instant weak- 
en it." 

" Your argument, Miss Flush, is, I think, one that 
proves too much, and in that light should be abandoned. 
Now philologists, as you know, suggest different read- 
ings of the passage itself; as, for example, 'I have not 
seen the righteous forsaken (even when most reduced, 
though) his seed were begging bread.' Whether this be 

admissible or not " 

18 



410 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" Not by me 1" said Miss Flush. 

" Well, let it go. But whether admissible or not, you 
imply that a pauper or a beggar is synonymous with 
one ' forsaken' of God. This, I think, is a weak point in 
your argument ; for Job himself demonstrated, and in 
his own case exemplified, the contrary. Job was in the 
deepest affliction and poverty. His friends regarded this 
as you do our poor and afflicted Christian paupers, pre- 
cisely — as evidence that God considered him as a hypo- 
crite, and had forsaken him. They overlooked his present 
state as one of trial and discipline, and the future as a 
state of retribution.* They said to him, ' God will not 
cast away a perfect man.' (Job. 8 : 20.) ' Whoever 
perished,' inquired Eliphaz, (Job 4:7,)' being innocent, 
or where were the righteous cut off V But Job to this 
might have said, ' Was not righteous Abel cut off, being 
innocent ?' — and godly ' Lot driven from Sodom to a 
mountain cave ?'t He did say, ' Naked came I out of my 
mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither. The 
Lord gave, and the Lord haih taken OAvay ; blessed he the 
name of the Lord J And he also said, ' What J shall we 
receive good at the hand of God, and shall tve not receive 
evil ?'X Is not this a state of trial ? Do not the right- 
eous suffer here ? Must they expect only good things ? 
Thus Job answers and reasons, ever afiirming that the 
tabernacle of robbers prospered here ; that the wicked 
spend here their days in wealth, and in a moment go 
down to the grave, as the Psalmist himself says of them, 
* Thou sittest them in slippery places, and their feet 
shall slide in due time.' David himself, like Job, saw 
the godly often in affliction, while the wicked spread 
themselves in wealth and power like the green bay tree. 
But what was Job's latter end and experience ? He, 

* Hemij in Cornp. Com., Job. t Scott, Job 8 : 20-22. t Job. 2. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 411 

the most afflicted and miserable of mortals, yet main- 
tained through the trial his integrity, his purity, his 
honest trust in God ; and we read that the Lord blessed 
the latter end of Job more than his beginning." 

" There are two objections," said Miss Flush, " to your 
argument from Job. The first is, that he is represented 
as a man of great integrity, and without any perceptible 
fault of his own, was given over into the power of Satan 
to prove how much his piety could resist his assaults — 
(our paupers, Mr. Sherman, have most of them, by lives 
of intemperance and extravagance, ruined themselves !) 
The second is, that the whole history of Job may be 
fabulous, and so unworthy of credence." 

" Then some of the most precious truths and princi- 
ples of religious faith must perish." 

" Oh ! I do not say it is so — but it may be, you 
know?" 

" I ' know' no such thing, but build my faith on it as 
confidently as on the Psalms of David." 

" Well, I do not see that it is necessary to depend on 
the second objection, as the other is so unanswerable." 

" I do not think it at all ' unanswerable.' Satan can 
do an injury to no good man without Divine permission. 
Job's case is illustrative of many whose trials and 
scourges have been brought on them for the glory of 
God and for the direct good of their souls. It is a 
marked, a special, a most extraordinary case, but by no 
means wanting in circumstances that place it outside 
the range of human casualties, and so illustrative of hu- 
man experience. We are all in the hands of God, who 
can give us over to temptations from Satan that will 
inevitably destroy us unless we are supported by him. 
So was it with Job, God defended-his life and delivered 
his soul. And he will, with every temptation, provide 



412 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

a way of escape to all sucli as fear him, although he 
may see it best greatly to scourge and afflict them." 

" The paupers, Mr. Sherman, hardly will pass for a 
class of righteous men — even if there are persons among 
them who have piety, perhaps of a dubious sort." 

" Miss Flush, let me read you what David says on the 
very point you so bravely defend. ' The steps of a good 
man are ordered by the Lord ; and he delighteth in his 
way. TJiough he fall/ — notice this, if you please — 
' Though he fall he shall not be utterly cast down : for the 
Lord upholdeth him with his hand. I have been young 
and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous for- 
saken, nor his seed begging bread.' Now, my friend, 
please tell me, if you have ever fully considered this mat- 
ter in the light of its antecedent truths ?" 

" Well, I cannot say precisely, I may have." 

" I know it is altogether probable you have read the 
connecting passages a hundred times ; but I am con- 
strained to think you have thought far less of their im- 
port than of the other. They surely teach that a good 
man may ' fall' into affliction, poverty if you please, and 
be no less immediately a subject of Almighty grace and 
love ; that to be in affliction, that is, say in poverty or beg- 
gary, is not necessarily to be ' forsaken,' but to be in a 
state of discipline and trial. And we are especially to 
notice, that this language, ' I have not seen the right- 
eous forsaken,' &c., ' may relate especially to those who 
are charitable to the poor, and liberal of their substance 
to meet the necessities of the needy and afflicted, and 
intimates that David had never observed any, in his 
long life none, who by reason of their charities had ever 
been brought into straits of poverty themselves, or en- 
tailed it as a consequence on their children.'"* 

* See this mutter here elaborated into an argument, in C'om/)re/ie)istee Com.^ 
Henry, Scott, etc., etc., Job, Psalms, Gospels, etc. — Auth. 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 413 

" Why ! Mr. Sherman, I never did regard the subject 
in that light. Is it at all' probable it may have any such 
explanation ?" 

"I think so." 

" You must excuse my frankness ; I receive new in- 
terpretations of favorite scripture passages with great 
reluctance. I will converse with you again sometime, 
but assure you my views of the main question, while 
they are exceedingly tenacious, are yet such as at the 
outset I informed you ) they leave my mind open to 
conviction." 

James' heart, however, sunk within him at the dismal 
prospect of convincing by argument such an open mind, 
and though well aware he was no match for her in con- 
centration or subtlety, he yet felt confident he had 'put' 
the case for the poor before her in the honest convic- 
tions of truth, not always deficient either in strength of 
argument. He was very anxious that Miss Flush might 
alter her opinions respecting the paupers, for no other 
woman nor any dozen men in the town had so much in- 
fluence as she in keeping up the opposition to the efforts 
of the reformers. She seemed to regard the movement 
as fanatical, and as anti-scriptural — especially, though 
altogether erroneously believing that it would turn away 
the minds of the people from their customary and long 
approved modes of Christian benevolence, and so be an 
injury to the cause of religion ! * * ** 

Miss Flush said she would sometime or other visit the 
poor-house. 

From time to time, a good many of the citizens of 
Crampton, besides Miss Flush, had thought they should 
visit the poor-house. 



il4 NEW England's chattels ; or, 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

Grandfather Sherman. 

When James Sherman, senior, sold all that he had in 
Crampton, and removed to the West, he knew not to 
what part of that country he should finally direct his 
course. Oppressed as many a doting father has been 
by the bad conduct of a son, in whom he has built up 
the bright and cherished hopes of life, he cared very 
little where he went, if he might seclude himself from 
the sight of the " ingrate" boy, and be safe from his pur- 
suit and the importunity of his sure, future want. Mr. 
Sherman well knew that the course of extravagance, 
idleness and sin, which his son had chosen, would in a 
short time leave him in a dependent condition ; from 
this, he had some hopes of his ultimate reform. But 
alas ! what little hope of repentance well founded was 
there in his case. 

Mr. Sherman was a man of sudden impulses, and of 
strong passions. At the same time he was unquestion- 
ably a person of very great affection, and was sure to 
feel its exercise in all its true force under the requisite 
and appropriate terms of it. Unlike some men of his 
peculiar temperament, lie was universally regarded as a 
man of good judgment, clear views, and real benevolence. 
By the citizens of Crampton he was held in high regard, 
and had two or three times been sent as their represen- 
tEijtive to the General Assembly of the State. 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 415 

The western part of New York, the northern parts of 
Ohio, and the country west of these points, was com- 
paratively a wilderness from 1820 to 1830, between 
which periods Mr. Sherman removed from Crampton, 
so that he found no difficulty in locating himself in a re- 
tired position in the northern parts of Illinois. 

Here he purchased from time to time considerable 
wild land at government prices, and lived to see even in 
five years a considerable tide of emigration setting in 
towards him, and even going beyond him from the East. 

At this period of his sojourn in that country, he lost 
his amiable wife, who, in her dying moments, implored 
his forgiveness of their only son. Under the solemn 
aspect of death, all sublunary things assuming their true 
inferiority of regard, and duty imperiously attesting her 
great importance, the husband and the father, his heart 
truly yearning for his son, could not refuse his assent to 
this request. He promised her all that she required. 

After her departure accordingly, he made special and 
earnest inquiries about him, and took all the necessary 
steps to restore him legally to his forfeited heirship. 
But great was his disappointment, sorrow, and chagrin 
to learn the whole history of his son and of his family, 
all of whom were reported as no longer living. Mr. 
Sherman never fully recovered from these accumulated 
disappointments and sorrows. He married again, how- 
ever, a lady of excellent character, of aifectionate re- 
gard — a cousin to his former wife, by whom he had two 
daughters, but was ere long removed from them by 
death. 

By his will, he gave the whole of his property to his 
wife in trust for " all his children, their true heirs and 
assigns, forever." 

Mrs. Sherman, left a widow with these daughters — she 



416 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

being now forty-five years of age, with a very large 
landed estate, increasing yearly in value — found that 
the care of this property and the education of her 
children required the utmost diligence and exe.rtion on 
her part. Unaccustomed heretofore to so much exer- 
tion and to so great responsibility, it for a long time 
sensibly wore upon her strength, and excited apprehen- 
sions that the daughters would at an early age be left 
orphans in the world. But these unfavorable clouds at 
length dispersed. She was able to perform her required 
labors with more comfort to herself, and with decided 
advantage to the young heiresses, as she was eminently 
fitted to give a guiding hand to the formation of their 
characters. 

Chicago was now become a city of great extent and 
business, the pride of Northern Illinois — filled with in- 
habitants, evidently destined to be one of the most im- 
portant and magnificent cities of the country. It was 
within the liniits of this rising metropolis that a part of 
Mr. Sherman's estate lay, and the remainder was near by, 
every rood of which commanded a high price, every foot 
of that within the limits of the city valued at almost 
fabulous prices. Such has been the rise of landed estate 
in our great western towns and cities. 

Of the Puritan Fathers, there never lived one who, 
we suppose, dreamed of the great West of that country 
whose eastern margin he beheld in glorious outline from 
the deck of the May Flower. The Puritans never saw 
the mighty lakes and western prairies of the land they 
took in possession. Stern and rugged men, they strug- 
gled for a century and more on the margin where they 
first planted cornfield and city, school and church. It 
was two centuries before Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and 
Michigan were fully comprehended. The Indian and 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 417 

the dark-haired bison were there, but not the early set- 
tlers of New England. 

"Well, it makes no difference ; we mean, it is just as 
■well — as well for them, and as well for us — for the world. 
The good old Puritan came not here to buy government 
land at one dollar and twenty-five cents the acre, and to 
speculate in its rise ; but as the poets justly say — 

" He came to worship God !" 

The generations long after his, spread themselves over 
the mighty West, and Chicago grew up a city of great 
renown, of wealth untold, of business unrivalled ; with 
an immense population ; of gigantic proportions ; the 
thoroughfare of travel from the East to the West be- 
yond 1 

Of course we do not know why it was that here, rather 
than in some less favored place to realize a great for- 
tune, Mr. Sherman chose to locate himself. But as his 
estate lay here, when the city rose and spread itself 
along the shores of Michigan, calling still — " More 
room !" " Eoom for us !" " Room for Chicago, room !" 
— it attained to an immense value. 

The two Misses Sherman — elegant, accomplished 
young ladies — both married during the lifetime of 
their mother, and according to her wishes. The hus- 
band of the elder daughter, Elizabeth, was a young and 
intelligent merchant of New York city. Her sister, 
Mary, afterwards married a lawyer of Chicago. It was 
strange if both these gentlemen were ignorant of the 
value of money. We suppose they must have been 
fully aware at the time of so grave an act that they were 
" proposing" to heiresses. 

Indeed, both of these gentlemen knew well the value 
of money, and how to take care of the immense estate 

18* 



418 NEW ENGLAND'S CHATTELS ; OR, 

now placed partially under their management, as the 
widow and the trustees wished them to assume some 
share of the responsibility attendant on its rapidly in- 
creasing importance. 

We now leave this subject and return to our friends 
at Cramj^ton. 

It was James' frequent custom to visit Mr. "Warren, 
from whom he was ever seeking to gain some new in- 
formation respecting the early history of his parents. 
He also was frequently led to inquire about his grand- 
father and grandmother. Every particular scrap of in- 
formation thus acquired, he treasured up in his mind 
with the deepest interest and regard, valuing it as 
above all price. 

" Your father, James, when he left here, went to the 
West Indies, and he died there. We suppose he died 
there." 

" What is the strongest proof of it ?" inquired James. 

" We had letters from the American Consul at Bar- 
badoes to that effect ; his trunk of clothes and watch 
were sent home. Every thing had the look of truth 
about it, and we never afterwards heard it contra- 
dicted." 

" Never ?" 

" No, never." 

" How long was it after he left here ?" 

" Not a great while." 

" Some months ?" 

" Yes ; a few months." 

" Was the yellow fever raging there at the time ?" 

" Very much so, if I remember aright." 

" Undoubtedly he perished," said James. 

" Hardly is there a doubt of it. He was a bright and 
ami;}ble boy," said the old gentleman, " but the force of 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 419 

temptation overcame him, and he sinned grievously ; I 
have often wished that I could have known what were 
the thoughts and the resolutions of his last hours." 

" Probably he soon sunk under his disease, and be- 
came lost to all personal consciousness, and so died — I 
fear it at least," said James. 

" It may be so. But when I remember the prayers 
of his mother, I have hope in his repentance." 

" What a singular and happy Providence it was," said 
James, " that my mother came here in her last hours. 
I am sure I owe you ten thousand thanks for your kind- 
ness to her, poor creature !" 

" Oh, I owed her my love, James. I only did my 
duty. We were but too happy to comfort her." 

" Your attention to her, nevertheless, involved you in 
a series of cares and anxieties " 

" The result of which, James, you in your own person 
exemplify and cancel. My last years abound with fruit 
I am daily eating to my high and increasing enjoy- 
ment." 

" And I am happy that it is so," said James. " I am 
often thinking now-a-days about my grandfather. You 
say he removed to the West after disinheriting my 
father, and settled in Illinois ?" 

" Yes, he did so. Your grandmother died there in a 
few years, and she obtained your father's forgiveness 
from her husband, on her dying bed." 

" Yes 1 That is a matter which gives me the highest 
pleasure !" 

" Of course it must. Your grandfather wrote a letter 
here, after the death of your mother, informing us that 
he had forgiven his son and removed the restriction of 
his claims to his property. But, as the answers he re- 
ceived must have been highly unsatisfactory to him, it 



420 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

is probable that his property, if he had any, fell into 
the hands of his new wife, and so passed from you for- 
ever." 

" And this is all that you know of him ?" 

" All — I have absolutely no knowledge of him further 
than this, for more than twenty years. I even do not 
know whether he is dead or alive, but my impression is 
— my memory is almost certain on the point — that he 
died a good many years ago." 

" It is not possible, I presume, to find that letter which 
he wrote containing my father's forgiveness?" 

" You may find it at the town clerk's." 

Thus repeatedly they conversed together, James be- 
ing conscious of an increasing conviction that the whole 
history of his grandfather was not yet unravelled. On 
inquiring there, he could find no letter at the office of 
the town clerk, nor any writing or record of any kind 
affording him any clue to the mystery, or any relief to 
his mind. 

One day, when conversing with Mr. Warren on the sub- 
ject, he was told that there was an old package of letters 
left by his mother at her death, which had been preser- 
ved, but never regarded as of much value, and it was 
difficult at once to find them. This was a new scrap of* his- 
tory for James, and with his anxious assistance in search- 
ing over the house, the package was brought to light. 

What was his surprise and joy, as he diligently and 
carefully opened all the papers, when the very letter he 
was in search of came to light ! 

It read as follows — being addressed to his son, within 
an envelope to the post-master of the toAvn : 

" Chicago, Illinois, Aug. 17, 183—. 
Dear James : — With a broken heart I resigned my home and its asso- 
ciations at the East, and came into this almost untrodden wilderness in 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 421 

search of a new one, and associations that might give me peace of mind, 
and at least partial forgetfulness of my sorrows. But even here the recol- 
lections of the past have often arisen before me, and embittered the hours 
of my life. One cannot go away from himself. If his own heart is right, 
he may be comparatively as quiet in one place as another. My heart has 
not been right towards you, nor towards Julia. I will not say that the 
cause of my unhappiness might have been spared me, had my son con- 
sidered well his own filial respect, and in all things made it his main 
object to please me — and I have carried with me a heavy grief, a mourn- 
ing for my only son, that all my efforts have not enabled me to conceal. 
In addition to this, I am now groaning under a dispensation of bereave- 
ment by the'work of death. Your beloved mother, the joy and solace 
of my life, who never cherished towards you a spark less of affection for 
your neglect, who accompanied me in my wanderings without a reluc- 
tant word, now rests in her last sleep. 

But before your mother's death, she called me to her couch, and 
warmly interceded with me on your behalf for my reconciliation with 
you and restitution of your legal rights. . . . The same request had 
never before been uttered even in our most confiding and most mourn 
ful hours. She knew well her time, and waited it with patient confi- 
dence. In that hour then, under all the solemn sanctions of events that 
take hold on the future, I complied, and that most heartily, with all 
that she requested, and had the almost unearthly pleasure to see her 
smile her saintly approval of the act as she breathed out her last fare- 
wells. 

On my own mind, also, there came directly a positive, sensible re- 
lief. I felt a burden removed at once from my soul, that I would not 
again endure for worlds ! I hope never again to feel that crushing 
weight ! 

You are forgiven all that an earthly parent can forgive. Look to God 
for his reconciliation and love through the atonement and mediation of 
His only Son, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world. Hereby I ap- 
prise you that the legal restriction to a claim on my property, under 
which I placed you by my formal act, is this day removed, and will 
never again, I trust, be renewed. You are to-day the only legal heir tc 
my property. This, I beg leave to assure you, is increasing in value, 
as my real estate here seems to be located well. Give my love to Julia, 
and affectionately urge her to accompany you here whenever it may be 
best for the children. 

I shall hope for an early answer, and in the meantime am. 
As of yore, affectionately your father, 

James Shkkman." 



422 NEW England's chattels ; ok, 

What must have been the depth of feeling with which 
James perused this letter ! He seemed to himself as 
standing within the spirit circle of his family, and to 
hear voices saying, one to another, " Lo ! the lost is 
found, and we are again one !" He could scarcely con- 
tain his self-command ; it seemed to him a letter of 
the utmost importance and its preservation in the cir- 
cumstances of the case, almost as the special interposi- 
tion of Heaven. 

" How was the letter answered, Mr. Warren ?" 

" The answer to it, I have heard, was by the post- 
master." 

" What sort of an answer ?" 

" A very unfavorable one, of course. Your father had 
left the country and was reported dead. Your mother 
was no more, and your two elder brothers were dead ; 
these were the facts returned in the answer." . 

James groaned in the bitterness of his thoughts, and 
walked the room for several moments, struggling for 
composure. 

" How came you in possession of the letter ?" in- 
quired James of Mr. Warren. 

" After a long time, the post-master gave it to me, 
but he said, there was nothing further to be done in the 
case as he could see — Mr. Sherman, if alive, having 
doubtless willed his property to his second wife, so I 
put away the letter with the package." 

" If my grandfather left property," said James, " it 
can hardly be supposed he would will any portion of it 
to his son James, or his children, after receiving intelli- 
gence of their death. At the same time, while it is 
probable that he did will it to his second wife, it is cer- 
tain that he restored the legal and natural claim of my 
father, and it is not improbable, I think, either that he 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 423 

made no direct will of his property, or that he did by 
will convey it, as is often done, to his wife, in trust for 
his children and heirs." 

Mr. Warren assented to this view. He was warmly 
interested in it, and saw at once how valuable a relic he 
had preserved in case of certain contingencies arising. 

James laid the whole thing open before Lawyer 
Ketchum. Lawyer Ketchum advised with Mr. Tools 
about it. All parties waited impatiently for the return 
of Mr. and Mrs. Rodman. 

The subject itself formed one or two of the main 
items contained in his latest correspondence with his 
absent friends. And among other topics introduced, 
was the following : — 

" We think more of the people are beginning to favor 
our cause. We shall carry the reform in the fall, I con- 
fidently predict. I have lately been on a visit to old 
Mr. and Mrs. Pepper. A more abject, sunken state and 
scene of misery and despair, I scarcely remember ever 
to have seen. The house of Pepper & Co. at the Falls 
Works, have made a very bad failure, and old Mr. Pep- 
per is involved beyond all his real and personal effects, 
so that in perfect despair both he and his wife avow 
their necessity of support from the town. They reso- 
lutely refuse to purchase any food to eat, but beg it in 
small allowances from those who live the nearest to 
them. George Pepper, Esq., has thought it best, on 
account of the great excitement against him in the com- 
munity, to leave town, it is said the country. When I 
called on the Peppers, they sat alone in their house 
trembling, pale, hungry and desolate. I endeavored to 
encourage them, and to convince them that something 
might be saved, enough to support comfortably their 
old age, but the attempt met with a perfect howl of de- 



424 NEW England's chattels ; or, ' 

spair from them. They accused every body of their 
downfall, cursed their son and all the company, impre- 
cated the judgment of Heaven on the town, and on all 
business stock associations in particular. Then they 
bewailed the day in which they were born, married, and 
the life they had lived together. They concluded by 
bitterly reproaching each other, and by invoking the 
town to take them to the poor-house. 

The overseers have been to see them — so has Mr. 
Siddleton ; and it seems to be regarded, on the whole, 
the best way to get along with them at present — at 
least to put them at Mr. Siddleton's, especially as Pep- 
per absolutely affirms he is not worth a sixpence, and as 
they both refuse to purchase or prepare for themselves 

the first morsel of provisions." 

******* 

Agreeably to the expectations formed on all sides, Mr. 
and Mrs. Rodman, accompanied by Alice, arrived in New 
York about the first of September, where a joyful wel- 
come and reception awaited them on the part of James 
and Mr. and Mrs. Haddock, who had accompanied him 
to the city. The party all soon returned to Crampton — ■ 
James hardly giving himself time to see and hear any 
thing but the smile and voice of Alice, who seemed to 
have matured into a more thoroughly beautiful woman 
during her few months' absence. 

There was great excitement and rejoicing at the safe 
return of their pastor and his family in the parish of 
Crampton. Hundreds of the people called on them, and 
congratulated them on having safely and so happily 
accomplished their tour. Every body praised their 
good looks, and many an invalid said he would like such 
a voyage himself. 

They themselves were extremely happy to feel once 



LIFE IN THE NORTHEEN POOR-HOUSE. 42S 

more at home, among their old, long-tried, and beloved 
people ; and Mr. Rodman, on the Sabbath, in his prayers 
and sermons, made frequent and affecting allusions to 
their separation, and reunion under circumstances that 
proved to them all the goodness and mercy of the Lord. 

And Alice buried her face in her hands, and wept with 
mingled feelings of present pleasure and past recollec- 
tions. How gladly was she here, in this dear home of 
her adoption and guardianship and love ! The wide 
and perilous ocean was past, the discomforts of the voy- 
age over. But, then, the dear ones in the island of her 
nativity ! Alas'! should she ever behold again their 
homes, their countenances, and feel their embraces ? 

Then came the assurances of that Gospel which is life 
and peace ; then fell on her ears the sweet promises of 
the Word of Life ; then rose distinctly in her soul the 
peaceful whisperings of the Spirit, talking of the things 
that are Christ's, and presenting them to her heart. 
Alice felt that all was well. 

And Alice and James were dear to one another — 
dearer than ever before — dearer for all of earth, its joy 
and sorrow. Pledged, also, were they to labor for the 
good of their fellow-men, and to relieve the sorrows of 
such as were poor and needy, to whom were appointed 
the pinchings of want, the misfortunes and mortifica- 
tions of poverty. 



426 NEW England's chattels ; or, 



CHAPTER XL. 

A NoBTHEKN Doughface ; ! 

" It is a singular state of things any how," said Squire 
Ben Stout. 

" Confound the old rascal — he's buried his money !" 
said Mr. Savage. 

" Well, he will have a nice opportunity to live on 
nothing now !" said Tools, with a laugh. 

" I wish," said Savage, " he might go hungry for a 
week — old c !" 

*' He is a hard case," said Tools. 

'' A town nuisance !" said Savage. 

" Queer specimens, both of them, of humanity !" said 
the Squire. 

" How does Siddleton accommodate them ?" inquired 
Tools. 

" Oh, he put them into his back room, with five or 
six others, on an old bedstead that hadn't seen the out- 
side of the house in five years, and told them it was the 
best he could do for them till Hicks died," said Mr. 
Savage. 

" How did they seem to relish it ?" inquired the 
Squire. 

" They said it was ' better than they deserved,' I be- 
lieve — old hypocrites ! misers ! confounded old money 
lovers I" 

" Singular instance of vicissitude, Mr. Tools !" said 
Squire Ben. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 427 

" Remarkable, remarkable !" rejoined he. 

" Shows the instability of fortune." 

" Quite a plain case," said the lawyer. 

" Well, what the devil is going to be done about it in 
the end?" inquired Mr. Savage. 

" Oh ! the town must watch closely for remuneration," 
said Tools ; " and if any thing comes to light, just nab 
it— that's all." 

" He has undoubtedly taken a false oath," said Savage. 

" Well, he won't need to vote any longer — ha ! ha ! 
ha !" said Tools. 

" No, he's safe iliere^'' said Squire Ben. 

" And it is a queer state of things, too — only a month 
ago reputed worth three hundred thousand dollars, and 
a voter ; to-day, a pauper and disfranchised. Queer, 
isn't it ?"* said Tools, bringing out his cigar case, pass- 
ing it round, and lighting. 

" Well, it is so, by George !" said Savage. 

" The best and wisest laws sometimes seem to work 
unequally," said the Squire. " But it is right, gentle- 
men, that old Pepper should feel the law in the same 
places, as well as Sam White and Tucker." 

"Yes, that's fair," said Savage. 

"True," said Mr. Tools, " but I don't think much of 
the law any way." 

"Don't?" 

" No ; what's it good for ?" 

" Why, who the d ^1 wants Tom, Dick and Harry, 

town paupers, round voting against the town ?" 

" It ain't certain they would." 

" * Ain't certain !' Then there's nothing certain, that's 
all," said Savage. " Wouldn't they vote themselves 
better accommodations if they could ? ha ! ha ! ha ! — 

* Shows a strong ease, in order to make the severity of the law apparent. — Auth. 



428 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

Now I've got you, Tools — own up beat on that — don't 
be hoggish now, eh ?" 

" ' Yote themselves better !' So would you, perhaps, 
and Squire Ben and I, if in their places. Don't they 
need them ?" 

" Oh, ho 1 that's your dodge, hay ? Well, suppose we 
should — suppose we needed them. I don't know as the 
town ought to grant them." 

" Well now, just for argument, why not ?" 

" Well, we can't afford it !" 

" Squire Ben, what do you think ?" inquired the smok- 
ing laAvyer. 

" Oh ! the case don't — it somehow — or other — don't 
exactly seem to — it don't look just right, you see, as it 
is — nor — does it look very well in any different form." 

" That's it. Squire, out with it one way or another," 
cried Savage. 

" You see, Savage, the town pays a good deal noiv.''^ 

" I know that,''^ said Savage, " but that ain't the ques- 
tion " 

" True," said the Squire, " the question is if the town 
can afford to pay more to accommodate the paupers ? I 
should rather — be — of the opinion, it can't." 

" That's it, Squire. You've hit the nail hard, just as I 
knew you would in the end." (The fact is, that Savage 
had a tremendous influence over old Squire Ben Stout, 
and the town knew it. Nobody knew it better than 
Savage himself.) 

" Well now, men," said Tools, knocking off the ashes 
from his cigar, " I'll just give you my opinion. I know 
the town can afford it ; but I know also the town won't 
afford it till she's made to." 

" Good ! good ! Tools ! I go in for that," said Savage. 
*' I don't know but Lawyer Tools has just about covered 
my idea of the thing," said the Squire. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 429 

" Oh ! never mind, Squire Ben," said Savage,' — " you 
hit the thing off about right yourself." 

" And do you say the town can't afford to do any 
better by the paupers ?" said Tools. " Now, gentlemen, 
that's all humbug. The town of Crampton is as able to 
pay six, seven, and eight cents on the dollar as it is three. 
What is the tax on individual tax-payers, in reality ? 
Why, what an insignificant affair is a few dollars a year, 
more or less, to secure a man all the liberty and protec- 
tion he wants for himself, family, and property 1" 

" Well, for my part," said Savage, " nothing with me 
goes so against the grain as heavy taxes." 

" You don't care how light they are !" said the Squire 
facetiously. 

" Not 7, Squire Ben ; do you ?" 

" No, I can't say I do, exactly." 

" I love money myself," said Tools, " but so far as 
taxes are concerned, I just make up my mind that they 
are always light enough, and pay over the tin as readily 
as I take my ale and cigars." 

" But the town always grumbles," said Squire Stout, 
" if we go half a cent beyond the customary jooint." 

" ' Grumbles !' yes, and they've a right to," said Sav- 
age — " don't the town have to support every sort of a 
thing that any body like Haddock or Phillips or Ketcham 
happens to take a fancy to throw on it, such as schools, 
high schools, crazy folks, deaf and dumb boys, beggars, 
and such like, and pay for old bridges, protecting bad 
places in the roads, pay for somebody's falling off his 
horse, and somebody being at large ? Why shouldn't 
the town grumble ?" 

" Sure enough," said the Squire, " and so I was about 
to tell Lawyer Tools, that what was fun^to him, was 
death toothers. Ha! ha! ha!" 



430 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" That's a good idea, Squire, ha ! ha ! ha !" said both 
Tools and Savage. 

" I know about as well as the rest of you," said the 
lawyer, " what taxes we can usually raise ; I was only 
saying that more might be put on us just as well, if loe 
were a mind to have it so.'''' 

" There's the rub !" said the Squire and Savage. 

" But I think very little of the disfranchising paupers. 
It's making a good deal out of nothing, and exposes us 
to a good deal of hard talk." 

" You went for it in the Legislature," said the Squire. 

" Oh, yes, a man can't row against every body. I 
don't, however, think we really need the law, because 
the paupers are half of them females, and of the balance, 
two-thirds are too feeble to vote if they wanted to ; and 
who would ever think of putting in their names to draw 
a jury from ? No," said he, smoking freely, " the law is 
worse than nothing. Just abolish the whole, and make 
a simple provision to take care of the poor ; that's all 
we want." 

" I don't agree to that, by a great sight," said Savage. 
" Do you, Squire ?" 

" Can't say I exactly like it," replied he. 

" Do you like, Squire Stout, to sell men and women 
who are as respectable as old Mr. Pepper ?" 

" Don't call old John Pepper respectable, for heaven's 
sake," said Savage, interrupting. 

" Oh ! well just for argument say so, or Josh Hicks, 
or the old widow Prescott. Do you like it 'exactly' 
that we should have a law that effectually obliges us to 
sell them off as slaves, and disfranchise them ? Don't 
we give our Southern folks a chance to talk * Turkey' 
against us ?" 

" Well, let the Southern folks ' talk,' who cares for 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 431 

them ? Is it any of their business ? Let them mind 
their own laws and take care of their own slaves, and of 
their own white poor folks. They've got enough of it 
to do," said Savage. 

" Yes, and so they can say to us. Now, I think that 
one old pious white woman, like aunt Prescott, is worth 
more in the scales of reason and society, than a whole 
plantation of negroes, though I'm dead set against 
slavery," said the lawyer, lighting another cigar, " as 
you all know." 

" Why, Tools, you're about half crazy," said Savage. 
" You know that our poor-house laws are as humane and 
Christian as they can be. We are every where in the 
Bible told to take care of the poor : ' Blessed is he that 
considereth the poor, the Lord shall remember him in 
time of trouble.' Now our laws don't contemplate a 
state of involuntary servitude. They merely make a 
kind and regular provision to keep the poor folks com- 
fortable." 

" I know all about it," said Tools. 

" Well, you don't talk as though you knew any thing 
about it." 

" I know what I'm talking about," said the lawyer. 

" Well then, talk so other people can know too, ha I 
ha!" 

" You do know it," said Tools. 

'• ril leave it to Squire Ben if you dare," said Savage. 

Now Tools had rather not, and Squire Ben had rather 
not ; but there was no escaping, and so Tools said — 

" Done ! Leave it to him." 

" Well, Squire, how is it ?" said Savage. " Does Tools 
talk on this matter according to law and Gospel, so 
that people can understand him, or is he befogging the 
whole subject?" 



432 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

"That's not the point, Squire," said Tools. "The 
point is, whether I know what I'm talking about, and 
Avhether Savage understands me." 

" I don't care how you put it," said Savage ; " it's all 
one. For if I don't understand you, hoAV can any body 
else?" 

" We all know, Mr, Savage," began the Squire, " that 
Lawyer Tools is good in matters of law " 

" Oh, yes, that's all clear," said Savage. 

" Well, then, Tools must argue the matter as a lauijer, 
if he does at all ; so that you and I, Savage, may not as 
well comprehend his lawisms as he does, and yet it be 
not actually incomprehensible, because he must reason 
from facts that are well understood by us. On the 
whole, while I think Tools is rather bold and free in his 
notions — and Tools is no man's fool, j^ou know, ha ! ha ! — 
I should say he was not so far out of the way, but that 
yon and I could at least get hold of about half that he 
says with a tolerable degree of clearness." 

Savage studied over this decision with his feet and legs 
stretched out about two feet apart, with a hand resting 
on each knee, leaning forward and looking straight be- 
fore him, at nothing in particular, for about a minute — 
the deep twist around his mouth, the lines in his fore- 
head and cheeks, indicating some confusion of ideas. 
But at length, coming to himself, he exclaimed — 

"All right, I verily believe. Squire, though I don't 
get hold of the whole case as well as I want to. But if 
I do get at it, you make Tools out, or if not Tools, you 
make yourself out a regular Northern Doughface — lia ! 
ha ! ha ! — by thunder ! Is that it. Squire, eh ?" 

At this hit on the part of Savage, the Squire burst 
into a regular red-in-the-face, hearty old New England 
justice laugh ; and Tools, leaning clear back in his 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 433 

chair, with his face looking up to the ceiling, roared 
and laughed till the tears ran off his face like water, 
stamping with his feet, and clapping and rubbing his 
hands in the very highest kind of lawyer glee and satis- 
faction. 

At length Tools started up and pulled out his gold 
watch. " Whew ! wh-e-w 1 This won't do for me," he 
said. " I have a case to argue this afternoon, and a writ 
to make out for the sheriff. Is there any more business, 
gentlemen ?" 

" No, not exactly," said the Squire. " We must have 
a fight, I suppose, next town-meeting day." 

" Well, we shall whip their eye-teeth out of them, Ba- 
con and Stoddard to boot," said Savage. 

" I don't know how it will be," said Tools. " We must 
lay our heads together, and pull all one way : they are 
moving heaven and earth to carry it." 

" They can't do it," said Savage. 

" They will try," he replied. 

" Oh ! they are clearly in a minority," said the Squire. 

" It won't do to be idle and too confident," said the 
lawyer. 

" No," said Savage ; " watch them like dogs. They'll 
steal a march on us if possible ; then look out for heavy 
taxes !" 

" Hang the taxes !" exclaimed Tools, and left the office. 

Now Lawyer Tools really knew that he was on the 
wrong side, but his =^elf-interest kept him with his 
party ; and he was, as Savage represented it, a good 

specimen man of a " ?" Northern Doughface: 

the Squire was another I 



19 



434 NEW England's chittels; or, 



CHAPTER XLI. 

Miss Flush pays a visit to the Poor-House. She forms a high estimate of the per- 
sonal charms and character of Miss Margaret Davis, and appears in what may be 
called a new character herself. So thinks at least Lawyer Tools, whose profes- 
sional business leads him closely to scrutinize individual members of society in 
what changes soever they may appear. 

When James, accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Rodman 
and Alice, made an early visit to the poor at Siddleton's, 
he was not a little surprised to find there, engaged in an 
earnest conversation with Mrs. Siddleton, his late con- 
troversialist, Miss Emeline Flush. He was no less pleased 
than surprised, for he believed that a half hour's visit 
among the wretched people would be more " convincing 
to her mind" than a fortnight of argument. 

Miss Flush, however, colored a little at the unexpect- 
ed meeting, for she had promised to make the visit with 
him. However, that was soon excused, and Miss Flush 
said she had gathered a great many very interesting 
facts in relation to the paupers, from her " obliging 
friend, Mrs. Siddleton." " We have not yet visited any 
of their wards, but were on the point of doing so when 
you arrived," said she. 

" Yery good ; if Mrs. Siddleton has no objection, we 
will all go with you," said he. 

" You all know how it is, good friends," said she ; 
" we have them in close quarters, but it can't be avoid- 
ed. We do not know how to make new apartments, 
and they are really uuv'omfortably packed. And then, 



LIFE IN THE NCRTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 435 

as you know is always the case, several of them are 
more or less unweU, wtiich adds to the difficulty of 
giving them all proper accommodations." 

So saying, she led their way up the narrow stairs and 
introduced them to the quarters of her charge. 

Our friends were by no means strangers here, all, 
with the exception of Miss Flush, having several times 
before made the place a visit. - But, when Miss Flush 
entered the rooms, the insufferably close air was very 
offensive to her ; notwithstanding the outside door was 
swung wide open, she seized Mrs. Siddleton's arm for 
support : the whole company were much oppressed by 
it. 

There was an immediate sensation among the group 
of paupers at the coming of so many visitors, a sensa- 
tion of a pleasurable kind as soon as they discovered 
who they were. Mr. and Mrs. Rodman and Alice were 
well known to them now, and so was James, of course ; 
and they gathered round them, or raised themselves up 
from every possible lounging position, and reached out 
their scrawny hands to welcome them ; although some 
were bashful and afraid, and so eyed them through the 
creaks of the doors ; and others were ashamed, and pull- 
ed together more closely round them their tattered rai- 
ment ; and with feminine habit, Mag and others of the 
females with both hands smoothed down their frizzled 
and fugitive locks of hairs, or gave a new twist to soiled 
night-cap or head-dress, of what material or cut soever 
it might chance of. Some of them clustered in groups, 
looked over each other's shoulders and kept aloof, while 
there were others who w ilked right forward, easily and 
with great self-composure or confidence, and began a 
lively conversation. 

Such, of course, were Mag Davis, widow Prescott. now 



436 NEW England's cillttels ; or, 

very old, aunt Wakeup, Mrs. Upliam, Sam White, 
and Tucker. 

" Well, I'm dreadful glad to see you all," said Mag 
Davis, with one of her long, skinny laughs, that was 
meant to prove the welcome her words expressed, but 
was to virtue and youth a terrible expression of 
withered innocence and expiation of the past. " Yes, 
come in," said she, " coilie and sit down, if you will. We 
are always glad to see you, let what will happen. Josh 
is very sick, sir, you've come just in time to give his 
poor soul a little light, hasn't he, Mrs. Siddleton ?" 

" Doubtless Mr. Hicks will be very glad to see him," 
she replied. 

" Yes, he will, and so will sister Peters and widow 
Prescott ; * we're all poor crittures,' sir, and need the 
Gospel, so Dan himself says," continued she. 

"Don't talk too much, Mag," said Mrs. Siddleton, 
mildly, " we shall see you all." 

" Who in the world is that creature ?" inquired Miss 
Flush, in a whisper, as she leaned heavily on Mrs. Sid- 
dleton's arm. 

" Why, my dear Miss Flush, don't you know her ? 
That is Mag Davis." 

Miss Flush did not recollect ever meeting her before, 
although she had heard of her, and sometimes seen her 
wandering through the town. 

" She has been here a long time," said Mrs. Siddleton. 

" Oh, of course, Mrs. Siddleton, I don't wish to monopo- 
lize the talk," said Mag, " but I thought somebody ought 
to do the honors of the establishment !" 

" You see she knows how to talk," said Mrs. Siddleton. 

" It is surprising ! And yet what a dreadful looking 
creature ! I am afraid of her, and shocked at her appear- 
ance. Mrs. Rodman, do you know her ?" inquired Miss 
Flush. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 437 

" Oh, to be sure ; I have often spoken to her." 

" Mag belonged to a tolerably good family," said Mr. 
Rodman. " Her education was thorough, but she lost 
her parents early, became poor and idle, and, here she 
is — was it not so, Mrs. Rodman ?" 

" Yes, I think so ; I have heard something of her his- 
tory." 

Mag had now wandered off into her room, where Roxy 
was lounging on the bed. 

Tucker, with his long, gray beard, and red, almost 
blistered whisky face, encountered the party, and hoped 
they were " all well." As for James, he went right 
among them shaking hands, chattering with all, and in- 
quiring into their several circumstances. Every one 
stared after him as he passed on, and wondered how he 
got out of the poor-house, and Mag and Roxy said they 

were c glad of it, for he was head and shoulders too 

tall to stay there. 

" And they say," said Mag, " he's courting Alice there. 
Do see her, Roxy ; here, you fool, peek through the door 
at her. 'Darn't?' Pshaw! you're jealous, coot, you won't. 
Ain't she tall and plump and handsome ? Don't be a 
fool ; look at her and say ' yes.' " 

" I see her — she's mighty handsome, I believe." 

" That's it, and true. She'll make him as happy as a 
Frenchman." 

" Pshaw ! how do you know, old Mag ?" 

" You needn't snub me, Rox, Jims is no old beau of 
yours. He'd marry me just as quick as he would you." 

" It's a c lie, you old trollope ; he's romped with 

me a hundred times." 

" Much good may it do you, miss . He'll marry 

that English girl, now, and she's as graceful as a swan. 
See her walk ! And she's good too. See her shake old 



438 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

granny Wakeup and widy Prescott by the hand. Hang 

it — but I'll go and shake hands with her myself ," 

and so off she started, but first she encountered James, 
and seizing him by the hand, cried out, " How are you, 
mister James ? We are mighty glad to see you." 

*' Well, Mag, how do you do yourself ? I am glad to 
see you looking pretty well — ' alive and hearty,' as they 
say." 

" Oh ! ho ! the Lord keeps some of us on hand yet, 
ha ! ha ! but I am getting sober, ha ! ha !" 

" Now I think, Mag, you are about as young as ever 
in your courage ; you don't give up, I see." 

" Lord, no, it's Roxy that does that " 

*' It's a lie, you wicked creature, and you know it !" 
screamed a voice behind the door. 

" Whew ! whew ! old jealous Rox, I , ha I ha !" 

screamed the old hag, and passed on till she got Alice 
by the hand, and congratulated her on returning safe 
from her voyage. 

" We had a fine voyage, Mag," said she. 

" Yes, so Jims told me," she answered. 

" Jims and you are old friends I believe," said Alice 
with a smile. 

" Yes — ha ! ha ! ha ! Jims and I and Roxy used to 
sit up nights and tell stories. He's a mighty tall, hand- 
some chap now, ain't he, though, eh ?" 

" I dare say he thinks pretty well of himself," said 
Alice, with a smile. 

Miss Flush came up, and Mag, not having seen her 
before, on being told who she was made a sidelong cour- 
tesy, and smoothed down her dress and hair. Miss 
Flush couldn't keep her eyes off from her. There was 
a smartness and singularity about her that attracted her 
towards the old creature, repulsive as she was. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 439 

Mag told her she had been a poor miserable being 
more than forty years. She was born well, of goodly 
parents, educated well, and saw good company in her 
younger days. She was now over sixty years of age. 

" When I was fifteen I was cast an orphan upon the 
world ; and before I was thirty I had lost all friends — all 
home restraints — all virtuous modes of a living. I hired 
myself out as a housekeeper at the age of twenty-two to 
an old widower, who turned me off in six months, de- 
praved and wicked. I have been so ever since, though, 
thank God! not always as wicked. But we are a poor, 
miserable set of outcasts ; we are jpoor ; we haven't any 
thing of our own ; no money, no clothes fit to wear, no 
friends to help us. We are cursed by the Lord with 
the shame and degradation of poverty, that has no other 
name for it so bad. May God have mercy on you, young 
ladies, and keep you from it all your days ! We are all 
dying as fast as we can, and hope it won't be as bad for 
us in the next world ; but — we don't know — we suffer 
enough, one would think, in this world, if that were any 
thing. But widow Prescott says our sufferings arn't the 
thing ; it is the sufferings of the Lord for us. Now how 
is it, Miss Flush, eh ?" 

Miss Flush could hardly refrain from weeping as she 
took Mag by the hand, and told her by all means to heed 
the counsel of Mrs. Prescott, and to go and cast all 
her sins away, believing cordially and simply on the 
righteous expiation of the Son of God for salvation. 

" Yes," said Mag, " we need just such a Saviour, I 
presume. For my part, I don't read the Bible much ; 
but Dan says we ought to, and Dan is becoming mighty 
religious now-a-days." 

" Who is Dan ?" inquired Miss Flush. 

" That's Dan in the doorway with a slouching hat on, 
sitting curled up so. Do you see him ?" 



440 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

" Yes ; but who is he ?" 

" Why, he's an old fellow of us — a State-prison chap ; 
one of the hardest old villains, they say, that ever was. 
Jims knows all about him. But he's getting as sober as 
a deacon now-a-days, and speaks and acts kinder." 

'' What makes him do that ?" 

" Oh, he says Captain Bunce, who used to keep us — a 
rough, grinding old master — who Dan used to quarrel 
with a good deal, and Jims used to trouble all he could, 
(ha! ha! ha!) and get flogged for it. Didn't you, 
Jims?" said she, as he came up. "Didn't Captain 
Bunce used to flog you within an inch of your life, eh?" 

" Yes," said he, " I believe so, Mag. But those days 
are gone by now : and the Captain's a better man, I 
hope, if I am not." 

" I guess you both needed a little grace," said she, 
bluntly. 

" You are more than half right, Mag," said he, and 
walked by. 

" Well," says she, resuming, "this Captain Bunce is 
now poor, with a blind daughter, and they are both com- 
ing to the poor-house themselves. But the Captain 
tells Dan he's met with a change, and is willing the Lord 
should do with him as he pleases ; and he talks with 
Dan till the poor soul really seems to act like a different 
kind of fellow. But after all, how's a person to be reli- 
gious Aere.^ Do you know?" 

Miss Flush said they must all be patient, and commit 
themselves to God, who would, she had " no doubt, 
assist them, and by-and-bye make them much better off." 

" Oh !" said Mag, " we expect that. Why, we should 
die right off if we gave up hope. Now, Miss Flush, we 
are expecting there'll be a great change one of these 
days, just on account of my dream " 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 441 

" Your dream ?" 

" Yes, a good many years ago it was too. Aunt Pres- 
cott thinks it will be fulfilled, and so do most all of us, 
for the dream was fulfilled about aunt Dodge, you know, 
and so we think this will be." 

" What was it ?" 

'! Why, that we were all liberated from these little 
pest-holes, and poor, short way of living, and put into a 
nice large house, where we had a sweet, good home, and 
every thing as comfortable as a body could wish — 
wouldn't it be good if it did come to pass, Miss Flush?" 

Miss Flush breathed heavily, for she had opposed the 
fulfillment of this very dream a good many years, little 
thinking it was the hope and longing desire of those 
destitute and suffering ones by whom she now found 
herself surrounded. 

" Yes, Mag," she said at last, " it would be a blessing 
indeed, and I think you ought to have something of the 
kind, I am sure." Miss Flush was feeling very earnest 
thoughts in her soul, thoughts of labor in behalf of these 
poor outcasts, God bless her ! 

" God bless you. Miss — perhaps we shall have. Now, 
do you go and see the old widow Prescott. There she 
is talking with the parson — do you see her, an old lady 
in a cap ? And there too, is old aunt Wakeup, with her 
crutch, see them ?" 

" Yes, I see them — good bye." 

» Good bye, Miss." 

Passing the opened door of poor Hicks' room, she 
was struck with horror at his ghastly, dying look, and 
nearly opposite was the room of Miss Peters, who was 
languishing out her life also, though perhaps her danger 
was less immediate than his ; her face was haggard and 
sunken, its belle-beauty gone — its virgin life wound up 

19* 



442 NEW England's chattels ; ok, 

near to breaking. Quietly, Miss Flush stood in the 
circle. 

" We have but little life left to us," said the widow, 
" may it be passed in the fear of God." 

" Amen !" said aunt Wakeup. 

" We have seen a strange life, sir," said the widow. 

*' It has been an eventful one, indeed," he replied. 

" All's right, though," said aunt Wakeup, " whom the 
Lord loveth he chasteneth, you know ?" 

" True," said the widow. " The Psalmist says, ' be- 
fore I was afflicted, I went astray.' We need afflic- 
tions." 

" We get 'um too !" said aunt Wakeup. 

" I hope they are rightly improved by you all," said 
Mr. Rodman, " for no one of us knows precisely what is 
best for him, and he should therefore endeavor to see 
the hand of the Lord in every one of his trials." 

" Oh, to be sure," said the widow, meekly. 

" I know it," said aunt Wakeup, bluntly, " and so I 
tell Mrs. Upham, who has just lost her children " 

" Lost her children !" 

" Yes, the town have put them out to places, one has 
gone to learn a carpenter's trade, and the other to work 
on a farm " 

" Well, did she not approve of it ?" 

"No ; she' wanted they should go to school longer : 
they are only eight or nine years old. But the town 
said they had better go now to these places, and they 
would see that they had three months' schooling a year 
till they were twelve or fourteen years old." 

" What did she say to this ?" 

" Oh !" said widow Prescott, " she took it rather hard 
that she couldn't have the boys longer with her, and 
provide homes for them such as she might approve." 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 443 

" And don't the selectmen give a mother here that 
privilege, pray ?" inquired Miss Flush. 

"No, indeed, they do not," said aunt Wakeup. 

" They always consult with her," said Mrs. Prescott. 

" They do not force from her the children abruptly, so 
to speak, but they finally do with them as they think 
best."-^ 

" That is, I believe, the rule they follow," said Mr. 
Rodman. 

" Well, is it not a hard one ?" inquired she. 

" We should think so," said Mrs. Rodman. 

" I never saw or heard of the thing before," said Miss 
Flush. " And pray where is Mrs. Upham ?" 

" She is rocking herself in the chair there, and James 
and Alice are talking with her," said Mrs. Rodman. 

" How really sorrowful she looks," replied Miss Flush. 
"Mrs. Upham was a pleasant and happy wife, with a 
good home that was all lost by her husband's intempe- 
rance and gambling. She came here with those two 
children left her out of a family of seven sons and daugh- 
ters, and it seems cruel to take them — still, fMs is no 
place for them," said Mrs. Rodman. 

" You are certainly right," replied the other. " How 
I wish all odious laws were swept away, and every 
wicked custom of society abandoned ! What dreadful 
woes have followed and rested on man, in consequence 
of indulging the vices you have named." 

Mrs. Wakeup and widow Prescott now fell into con- 
versation with Miss Flush, and she became deeply in- 
terested in their personal history as they gave it oif to 
her, and in hearing them speak of their religious sup- 
port in afflictions. 

* This shows how the law works in respect to children being separated from 
parents. — Auth 



444 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

Miss Peters said little to the visitors, but she groaned 
and wept, and hoped her days of suffering would shortly 
end. She longed to hide herself in the grave, the recol- 
lections of her " past life were too agonizing to bear." 
" Pray for me," said she, " pray ! pray 1" and covered 
her face with her hands. 

On the side of a dull looking, narrow bed, in the west 
room, where a half dozen persons lived crowded into its 
corners and filling all its area, there sat both Mr. and 
Mrs. John Pepper, late " the rich old Peppers" worth 
their hundreds of thousands, the envy and abuse of 
money lovers and seekers, and disappointed Avorldlings, 
now toivn paupers of Crampton, penniless, wretched, 
friendless, clear down the ladder of respectability and 
fortune, broken on the wheel of misfortune.* 

They seemed ashamed of themselves — and what was 
worse, horrified with a sense of their condition — it had 
come upon them ! The apprehension of a life of poverty 
had seized them at the last, and had come in all its 
severity without a moment's warning — save that every 
rustling of the leaves was one, and every rumor of trou- 
ble and tightness in the money market was another — 
yea, every want of life an admonition to expect the- 
poor-house ! 

They hung down their heads in abject, dismal shame 
as Mr. Rodman came near to console with them ; for it 
was one more proof in the series that they had fallen. 

* Read the following, which we clip from the N. Y. Evangelist, of July 23, 1857. 

— AUTH. 

" Life's Vicissitudes. — There is an old gentleman in one of the city pauper 
institutions at South Boston, who was for many years the President of one of the 
largest insurance companies in this part of the country. He was for a whole 
generation the associate and friend of the Thorndikes, the Brookses, the Lymans, 
the Amorys, the Cabots, the Perkinses, and other merchant princes of Boston. He 
has insured millions upon millions of property in a single year, and is now, in his 
Did age, maintained at the public charge." 



LIFE IX THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 445 

Henceforth, all approaches to them to speak words of 
even Christian comfort, would be turned into the stings 
of scorpions, as demonstration sure that they had now 
come to want the very things they had through life de- 
nied themselves, though fully able to enjoy them. They 
could no longer, even in idea, boast themselves above 
other men ; but henceforth poverty and haggard want 
were to them stern, unflinching verities. But Mr. and 
Mrs. Pepper, in every other sense than the necessity of 
poverty, had lived for years as paupers do. They had 
denied themselves all wantonness in delicacies ; super- 
fluity of even simple and daily necessities they care- 
fully avoided ; and their ever-earnest study, more in- 
tense in their old age than ever, was how they might 
reduce the cost of their most imperious daily wants. 
Still, it was not for love of these conditions that they 
thus wantonly and perversely fought against their natu- 
ral instincts and in-bred desires. No ! It was out of a 
grown-up idea of the dreadfulness of poverty, which 
was almost sure to overtake them — a cherished form of 
misery that became in them a thorough demon of mo- 
nomaniac horror and trembling — a mere fancy, that 
made them personally cruel — an idle whim, founded in 
the apprehension of a state possible to them, but by no 
means probable — it being generally the result of intem- 
perance, vice, extravagance, thriftlessness — that caused 
them to go hungry and athirst when others envied them 
their riches. 

They were now, indeed, where they had ever foretold 
the certainty of being ; and their state was one that the 
proud lover of earthly riches might comprehend with 
fear and trembling. Among the sufi"ering outcasts of 
the town — the sick, the aged, the half-demented, the 
dying — all complaining ; the hungry, ghastly, c^idave- 



446 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

rous, slatterly, profane, and selfish — remnants of them- 
selves, and relics of past fortunes and events ; a sorrow- 
ful pattern of what humanity may be ; a memorial of 
past offences — with these, in themselves a wheel of ex- 
istence and of nature, whirling slowly round and on 
creaking axle — with these, the feared but unchosen 
companions of a gloomy old age, they now had fixed 
their last passing stage. No, it was no chosen condi- 
tion, but a feared— to them a fated, fatal one. Pepper 
is disfranchised ! He can not vote at the next election ; 
he can sit on no jury ; he can own no property (as a 
pauper). Were he a State pauper, the State would pay 
the town one dollar a week for his board, at the most ; 
and were he to die, six dollars — no more — for his funeral 
charges.* So it is a fearful thing to play with Nature's 
laws — to fancy them and fear them and forestall them. 
True, they may ; but it is also true they may not, in 
the severer forms, crush down on us their invincible 
destruction : 

" Yet Nature hath her day and power — 

'Twere well to know these things ; 
N(ir risk the backward tides 

That bear upon and rend life's firmest strings." 

Dreams tf- Realities. 

When the party had been over to the poor-house pre- 
cincts, and seen and conversed wdth nearly all the in- 
mates, the last visit being to the sick room of the aged 
and suffering Hicks, Mr. Rodman offered up a fervent 
prayer in his behalf, and for all the poor people gather- 
ed there. The visit terminated, Miss Flush that very 

* One dollar a week seems, from time immemorial, to have been the extent of 
the allowance paid for keeping State or vagrant paupers. The State of Connecticut, 
by a recent act, allows the sum of one dollar and fifty cents per wp.et for this 
object. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 447 

day evening, in an interview with Lawyer Tools, pro- 
tracted a little more t.lian they were wont to practice on 
the night, desired to know what were the real opinions 
he entertained respecting the poor and wretched in- 
mates of the poor-house. And she perfectly amazed 
and electrified him by saying, that she had that day ful- 
ly resolved, in her own mind, hereafter to befriend them 
to the last of her influence with both friends and foes. 
" So," said she, " if you are not their friend, you must 
be, you luill be — I know I may say that! " And Miss 
Flush regarded him with a kind and winning smile. 
Lawyer Tools sort of nodded. " Hereafter," she con- 
tinued, " I will befriend and help them, though it cost 
me the dearest friend that I have ever cherished." Miss 
Flush grew pale and trembled — Lawyer Tools was 
taken. He never was so frightened in his life ! He 
ran for a glass of water — she regained her self-command, 
and Lawyer Tools, pressing her hand to his lips, swore 
by the love of years, he would go with her in her work 
of repentance and mercy ! That very evening they 
fixed on an early day for love's consummation, so long- 
delayed, and vowed together that through good and 
evil they would help each other in the path of life, a 
life to some of joy and gladness, to other some, of thorns 
and tears. 

Miss Flush immediately set about a system of bene- 
volence for the town's poor. She organized a society for 
that purpose. She was indefatigable, earnest, success- 
ful. Through her assistance and the labors of her asso- 
ciates, by-and-bye a great improvement was manifested 
in the condition of the paupers, and duly acknowledged 
by the town agent and overseers.* 

* ippendix, C. 



448 NEW ENGLi.ND's CHATTELS • OR, 



CHAPTER XLII. 

Search for Property. Writers on Political Economy represent Labor as the only 
Bource of wealth, for by ' labor all the wealth of the world,' as says Mr. Adum Smith, 
was originally purchased.' It is labor that gives value to all commodities and pro- 
ducts. At the same time, what miserable creatures we should all prove to be, 
were it not for Capital. We have it then, ' Searching' implies Labor, and 
'for property,' Capital. We hope James searched a good while before he 
finally abandoned it. 

When Mr. Rodman returned from abroad, he and 
James and Lawyer Ketchum were often closeted to- 
gether over the subject of James' possible interest in 
property at the West, left by his grandfather. And it 
was finally agreed that James and Mr. Ketchum should 
go out there and make inquiries. 

On the fourth day after leaving home, they found 
themselves in Chicago, and read in the evening papers 

of that day, the notice of the marriage of , 

Esq., lawyer of that city, to " Miss Mary , daughter 

of the late James Sherman, Esq.," of that city. 

That they were near the sources of information in re- 
spect to the object of their visit, they could not now 
doubt. In conversation with a gentleman of the hotel, 
Mr. Ketchum ascertained that the marriage to which he 
referred was a very splendid affair, got up in a style 
worthy an heiress of so great wealth, but he could not 
give him much further inforpation. But the next day, 
both Mr. Ketchum and James called on a brother lawyer 
in the city, to whom they had letters of introduction, 
and with him they repaired at once to the office of the 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 449 

Judge of Probate. They asked for the record of Mr. 
Sherman's will, having ascertained that he left such an 
instrument, and owned much property in and around 
Chicago at his decease. 

Their at-tention was at once arrested by the phrase- 
ology of the will. They were satisfied of the validity of 
James' claim under it to a right in the property of his 
grandfather. After an ample provision for the benefit 
of his wife, Mr. Sherman left with her, in trust for his 
children, their heirs and assigns, to be delivered them 
on reaching lawful age, the balance of all his property, 
real and personal, to be equally divided among them. 
Whatever intentions he had in respect to his daughters, 
as the heirs of his property, the will was so worded that 
it could not but meet the claims of all his offspring, 
even were there any such, his natural heirs, much more 
all who M^ere truly legitimate whose claims could be 
established. If this had not been the real desire of the 
testator, but if it had fully been his intention to give his 
whole property to his two daughters, Elizabeth and 
Mary, he would have said this in so many words ; and 
taken in connection with his letter to the father of 
James, it was clear that he made his will to meet any 
claim that might possibly arise in that quarter. 

They secured the services of the lawyer above refer- 
red to in their further proceedings, and laid before him 
all the proof they were able to produce in relation to 
the true identity of James. It was his opinion that the 
claim was substantial. He begged them to secure the 
opinion of anothey gentleman of great legal eminence in 
the city, familiar with questions of this sort, and were 
happy to learn that his decision was perfectly in agree- 
ment with that of the other. 

It now remained to see the family, and to present 



450 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

their claim — a difficult and painful task, as they knew it 
must be unexpected and thankless. Mr. Ketchum and 
the two lawyers w^aited on the trustees, and made known 
to them their business. The announcement of another 
heir to the estate, overwhelmed them with well-imagined 
surprise. It was communicated to the widow in the 
mildest manner possible ; but at first the shock w^as too 
much for her, and she begged her attorneys, before they 
proceeded further with their statements, to give her 
time to recover from her surprise. 

The next day the business was resumed. James had 
not yet been presented either to the trustees, attorneys, 
or the widow. Mr. Ketchum, acting as his representa- 
tive, held an interview with the widow and her daugh- 
ters, together with their husbands. This was followed 
by another, in which all the attornies and trustees were 
present, and the will was examined, and the new claim 
under it presented in full and investigated. 

It was the opinion of the widow, decidedly expressed, 
that her husband had no idea of the existence of his 
grandson when he made the will, and that consequentl}'- 
he could not have intended to bequeath to him an inter- 
est in his estate. She fully believed that it was his sup- 
position that he was, by will, giving his property to her 
two daughters solely. But she also frankly confessed 
that he had often spoken to her of his son, and lamented 
his fate ; that he had repeatedly told her he was recon- 
ciled to him, and had removed all his former legal em- 
barrassments to property under his will ; that nothing 
would be more pleasing to him than to know that he 
had left a son who could bear the family name. But 
she said, in justice to his memory and to her daughters, 
she must have the very highest proof of her duty in the 
case — the very strongest, most irrefragable proof of the 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOE-HOUSE. 451 

personal identity of the new claimant, before she con- 
sented to his position as an heir. Her attorneys advised 
this, of course, as also did the trustees. But the opinion, 
in general, seemed to favor the application of the newly 
found heir. 

Mr. Rodman was daily informed of the proceedings ; 
and at the request of Mr. Ketchum, accompanied by 
Mrs. Rodman, he repaired to Chicago. But before leav- 
ing, he secured several affidavits of importance to attest 
the claim — that of old Mr. "Warren, one from Captain 
Bunce, and a very decided one from old John Tucker, 
corroborating in every respect the testimony of Mr. 
Warren. He also took with him sundry papers found 
at Mr. Warren's, and relics preserved, garments left by 
" Julia Carlile Sherman," with her name wrought in 
them, and a small locket containing a miniature of her 
husband. Purposely James refrained from visiting the 
widow till Mr. Rodman's arrival. He left the city, and 
went East to Cleveland. Here he intercepted his 
friends, and returned with them to Chicago. 

Mrs. Rodman remembered that when she was a girl 
of fifteen or sixteen years of age, the present Mrs. Sher- 
man had made her mother, who was her cousin, a visit, 
and she had always retained a pleasant recollection of 
her as an agreeable and rather fascinating lady. Accom- 
panied by her husband she made a call on her at Chicago, 
but avoided any allusion to James or the subject in agi- 
tation, for she perceived that Mrs. Sherman seemed de- 
pressed in spirits, and that she carefully waved any ap- 
proaches to it. Her visit was not very agreeable. 

Mr. Ketchum informed the party on their arrival at 
the city that he was apprehensive of a law suit to re- 
cover ; that the parties made no progress in the settle- 
ment of the case, and the Shermans threatened to resist 



452 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

the new claim. There was but one more step he could 
think of to prevent a trial, and that was to present 
James to the widow. 

We have said that Mrs. Sherman was a cousin to her 
husband's first wife. She removed to the West in her 
childhood with her father and mother, but she had often 
seen and played with James Sherman, then a boy, five 
or six 3'ears younger than herself. She saw him once 
afterwards when he was about twelve or fifteen years of 
age, and retained a distinct recollection of his features. 
And accordingly when by appointment and consent of 
all parties — the trustees, attorneys, and friends being 
present, James was led into the presence of Mrs. Sher- 
man. She recognized the family likeness in an instant. 
At first she gasped for breath, and clung to the arms of 
her children ; but as James approached her with a smile, 
and extended his hands, she sprung upon his neck, and 
bursting into tears, exclaimed — 

" It is he ! It is James Sherman himself, the son op 
my husband, or his child !" 

The scene that followed maybe better imagined than 
described. Of course the claim of another party to a 
third of their estate could not in itself be a pleasure to 
the daughters or their husbands. But the evidence of 
the justice of the claim was so overwhelming, they had 
no further desire to resist it, even though, according as 
it would seem to our natural instincts, where there is 
immense wealth, and enough, of course, for all, it is as 
tenaciously grasped as where there is a much smaller 
estate. 

Mrs. Sherman advised her trustees and attorneys that 
she fully recognized the claim of James Sherman to an 
equal share in the estate of her husband, and directed 
them to act in the premises strictly according to the 
egal rights of all parties. 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 453 

In consequence of this admission, James was awarded, 
as justly due him, out of the past income of the estate, 
over one hundred thousand dollars ; his future revenue 
time only could develope its great amount ! 

The news of these proceedings filled the city with 
astonishment, and James became of course one of the 
lions of the day. Before the party returned to Cramp- 
ton, the papers there and in the vicinity were filled 
with the romantic story. The whole history of James 
was published in the papers far and near, and was re- 
garded, as in truth it was, one of the most remarkable 
that had ever occurred. Next to his ruling passion, 
one that had grown with him into life, that of relieving 
human suffering, so far as he had the power to do it, 
James desired to throw himself and all that he had ac- 
quired at the feet of Alice, although he well knew that 
the gold of the richest mine, were it his to bestow on 
her, would be deemed as worthless, unaccompanied by 
a heart she valued for its faithful love. 



454 NEW England's chattels ; oe, 



CHAPTER XLIII. 

James in the Town-meeting. Very humorsome times they frequently have in 
Town-meetings, there being generally present all the great men and all the 
small men of the place, not a few of whom offer their sentiments oratorically to 
their fellow-citizens, and the great men bow very low to the small men, and the 
small men shako their heads, look wise, and can't say precisely ic/io they sliall 
vote for. 

The annual meeting of the town of Crampton occur- 
ring at the usual time, the voters were highly excited by 
the pauper question, especially as both Lawyers Tools 
and Ketchum threw themselves warmly into the canvass 
in favor of reform, and others manifested much less op- 
position than formerly to the measure. Even Mr. Sid- 
dleton went with the new party, affirming that the death 
of Joshua Hicks, a man of such character as he had for- 
merly enjoyed, and a man of learning and of great use- 
fulness to the town — that his death in the poor-house, 
under the conditions of great personal distress and mor- 
tification, had opened his eyes on the mean and despica- 
ble character of the present poor-house regulations. — 
" And further," said he, " it is but a week since we re- 
ceived into our premises a poor, miserable, squalid, 
drunken man, on the eve of starving, who now lies at 
the point of death, formerly a lawyer of keen wit and of 
great social reputation ; the son of a distinguished 
lawyer, a candidate for the gubernatorial office of his 
native state ; whose brothers were men of celebrity at 
the bar, or in trades and merchandise, — we received 
him on the state account, and now wait for his decease. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 455 

Here is one born and bred in luxury, reduced by the 
exigencies of fortune, (bad fortune attendant on his own 
follies to be sure,) to a condition or state of relief that 
might save a man from starving, it is true, but to one of 
humiliation and suffering far too great for the least re- 
mains of his sensitive nature to endure. Shall we not 
do something better than this for our miserable and 
destitute paupers ?" 

But it was uncertain how the thing would go. Speeches 
were made on both sides, and the house was very nearly 
equally divided in opinion. Mr. Savage went among 
all his party friends, and pushed them forward, inflaming 
their minds by false statements of the plans and move- 
ments of the reformers, and by promising that there 
should be a tax voted of one per cent, less this year than 
usual if they carried the town. " But," said he, " we 

must work like the , or suffer defeat. Don't you 

see how they are plotting against us ?" 

Tools spoke against his old ally, and with great effect. 
Squire Ben Stout, as moderator, could speak on neither 
side, and so made the more merit of trying to give each 
party an impartial trial of strength. Mr. Armstrong 
worked hard with Savage. Mr. Haddock swung in his 
historical arguments, and Ketchum proposed inquiries 
that made the other party reel. But when the question 
came to a vote as to what course the town would take, 
it was so evident that a strong party yet remained to be 
overcome, the heart of the new-measure men grew 
faint and depressed. The moderator called the house 
to order for a vote, when a voice was heard from the 
other end of the hall, and a gentleman, more youthful in 
appearance than any who had spoken before him, but 
wearing in his features marks of the utmost firmness and 
decision — tall and dignified in his person — walked boldly 



456 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

forward and addressed the meeting. We need hardly 
say that this was James. Murmurs of discontent and 
applause rose as he laid his hat on the table before him, 
and commenced a speech. But silence soon stole over 
the crowd, and people in the hall and outside the build- 
ing all gathered in, and crept up on tiptoe nearer and 
nearer, as they heard his voice. Never had he before 
spoken in the hall on this question, and now had been 
returned from Chicago but a week. James felt the im- 
portance of the position he now assumed, as the public 
advocate of the cause of the poor, and that unless his 
speech should open the eyes and hearts of the opposi- 
tion, again, as was most probable, would the town of 
Crampton be disgraced by selling its town paupers to 
the lowest bidder, to be supported for the year of our 
Lord 185- ; and his whole spirit rose up to meet the 
foul injustice and oppose the wrong. He laid before 
the meeting a carefully arranged table of statistics, show- 
ing the cost of the poor to the town, as compared' with 
some other communities where a different plan was fol- 
lowed, and that in those towns the income of the farm- 
house system had been equal to the expense, and even 
frequently greater ; and this, beside all the moral im- 
provement, and the general health and good name of the 
institution.* He showed how easily the same course 
might be adopted here, and the great good it would at 
once and in aU the future accomplish. Then he argued 

* The reader will notice, in the Appendix D, extracts from a statement on this 
point, as published in the N. Y. Tribune, prepared by James Brewster, Esq., of New 
Haven, Conn.— a document of great practical value, and worthy of being read.— 

AUTH. 

Also, report of an Address to citizens of Syracuse, N. Y., by Andrew D. White. 
Esq., copy furnished by Daniel C. Gilman, Esq., for N. Y. Tribune, Feb. 26, 1857. 
Subject, Mr. Brewster's New Haven Aims-House Experiment, &c. &c. Also, Ex- 
tracts on same, from Springfield Republican, Jany. 13, lS57. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 457 

against the present plan, as grossly unjust to man as a 
human being ; its cruelty ; its inliumanity ; its unbound- 
ed selfishness ; its certainty of degradation and suffering. 
" It is the last cruelty that can fall on a human being 
this side the grave," said he. " You put him there to 
endure all he can ere he lies down in his death sleep 
and expires, simply because there is no provision made 
to help lengthen out his existence ; you place him 
where he can never rise, but must ever feel the omni- 
potence and dishonor of poverty. And there, in this 
great dismal charnel house, where thirty per cent, of 
all your paupers yearly go to the grave, he struggles in 
vain to feel himself a man ; you disfranchise him, you rob 
him of his children ; under certain conditions only, and 
those not looking to the good of the individual but of 
the town, and therefore purely selfish, you allow him to 
marry ; you do not provide for him a good and comfort- 
able home, but strive to procure a bid for his support 
that will save as much as possible to the town ; in all 
your arrangements for him, you look to a saving on the 
part of the town, and in every sense the working of the 
system tends to the degradation and intense mortifica- 
tion of the pauper. He cannot choose his own food, 
his own room, his own clothes, his own associates, his 
own employment ; he is allowed to own no property, to 
command no money. He cannot choose his own masters 
or keepers, but must go wherever the overseers of the 
town send him under a contract, of which he knows 
none of its conditio-ns ; in effect, you make a slave mart 
of your Town Hall, and take bids for your slaves, not 
holding them up as valuable chattels worth round sums 
to their purchasers, but as poor stock — the poorer the 
better — whose value lies in their proximity to the grave, 
and of whom full thirty per cent, a year may safely be 

20 



458 NEW England's chattels; or, 

calculated as falling oflf the bidder's hands. You place 
them where cruelties may be experienced daily, inhu- 
manities that should stifle the breath to hear of, inde- 
cencies and vulgarities constantly forcing themselves 
upon the mind ; profanity and blasphemy cultivated in- 
to gigantic growth, and you deny your paupers Chris- 
tian charit}". The system as practiced has in it cruel- 
ties. Look here," said he, flinging ofl" his coat and baring 
his arm, " I am one who can speak from experience. On 
that arm I can trace the scars of many a rawhide, ot 
many a flogging which I carry with me to the grave, 
and I point you to them as evidence of the desperate 
cruelty of the plan. You degrade man — see yonder 
proof of it," said he, pointing to him as Tucker came 
blundering half-drunk into the hall, " and now perhaps 
he comes to tell us that the son of one of the first gentle- 
men of a neighboring State, lately sick in our poor- 
house, has given up the ghost, no one but his miserable 
companions near him to receive his last messages, or to 
render him the attentions dying men all need. Who 
of you will go hence to follow him to the grave ? "Who 
of you attended the sick and dying bed of Mr. Hicks, 
formerly the public surveyor of this town, a man of great 
reputation, and how many of you went to his grave ? 
As it now is, your poor-house is little better than a 
highway to corruption and death. And well may every 
one of you who votes to keep it what it has now be- 
come, fear, that like as Hicks and Pepper have found it 
their old age asylum, so m^y you go into it in shame. 
Vote to continue your present poor-house system and 
to sell your paupers as slaves ! Well may every South- 
erner shout over you exultingly, and bid you first wash 
your own garments ere you complain of his. Do you 
say the laws that cover him are humane, and are framed 




James shows the Scars. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 459 

to protect his life and to secure his comfort ? So may 
reply to you the owner of a thousand slaves — ' I am for- 
bidden to injure them — and am required to use my 
power in them for their good.' But laws secure not 
the object where the work itself is wrong. If you give 
men the power to exercise cruelt}", what security have 
you they will not ? If you seU fifteen or twenty of the 
town poor to a citizen of the town for five hundred dol- 
lars a year, i. e., promising to give him so much to sup- 
port them, which is at the rate of forty dollars a month 
for the whole twenty persons ; twenty-six dollars a year, 
each, or fifty cents a week, which is seven cents a day ! 
think you he will not make them work to meet the bill 
of their expenses, or reduce them to the simplest, cheap- 
est, coarsest diet in his power ?* I know it all — so may 
you, if you do not already. You give the masters an 
opportunity to grind these people down to the very 
dust, and grind them they do, and will, if poorly paid, 
human nature remaining as it is. 

I institute no comparison with slavery though I say 
this. It is not my object. Draw your own inferences. 
I have not time, nor is this the place to give you the 
whole history of slavery — American slavery — that great 
mother of abominations and cruelties in this our glorious 
land, in this free Republic, in this age of learning, re- 
finement and religion. Let slavery be as it may, let the 
poor whites at the South be as they are, an abused, 
down-trodden people — still shall we in our free towns at 
the North, in our noble New England, be guilty of the 
meanness and cruelty of supporting this old past century 
pauper system with its crushing evils on the unfortu- 
nate ? WiU we tolerate the cruelties and sins of the 
system, and excuse them by saying, ' the laivs are good, 

* See Appendix, E. 



460 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

icell framed, and cover the whole ground /' or even by 
pointing to the greater cruelties, and more atominable 
wickedness of Southern slavery ? Will we be guilty of 
disfranchising a fellow-citizen, and selling him here in 
town-meeting before the ministers of our religion, in 
the sight of our best men, professedly Christian men, 
members of the churches in the town, the husbands and 
brothers of our pious and amiable ladies, our Christian 
mothers and sisters — in fact every man, who by law can 
do so, voting him no longer a free citizen, or worthy of 
his personal privileges, — will he do this simply because 
he is poor, and his necessity compels him to ask and to 
receive the charity of his fellow-men ? Is this humane ? 
Is this Christian treatment ? Is it just ? Will not the 
great Avenger of wrongs number against us this in- 
justice ? 

Let us not hide ourselves under the specious cry, 
' The laics are good/ — ' they expressly " say so and so," ' 
when we know that the laws give us directly tlie poiver, 
give every town the power, to support the poor just as 
we please, and deny the privilege of any efFectual 
complaining on their part — when we know that the towns 
will use their power not to secure the very best possible 
treatment and comfort of the paupers, hut to save them- 
selves, as far as they possibly can, from tlie taxes that must 
be laid to pay the bill / 

Here is the ground of all the difficulty. Here it is — 
Let the laws be as high and pure as heaven, if you en- 
trust their execution to ' Mammon,' he will nullify all 
their benevolent reservations and outlines. Yes, you 
must away with this opportunity cf extreme selfishness, 
or, as our nature is, your laws will do little, if any good, 
the case. 

Now we desire a remedy — a complete modification of 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 461 

the system. We have the poiver by the law to keep the 
poor as we choose. So that our slavery is not Southern 
slavery ; but it is heartless, mercenary, voluntary in the 
highest sense. We may, we do discuss the question. 
We may, we can, we shall, I trust, change the mode and 
liberate these paupers from their present debasement. 
Hence the value, the true elevation of our freedom of 
speech and of action at the North. 

I go for their entire elevation, reform, and civil relief. 
I am opposed to their disfranchisement. I would give 
them their liberty to vote, if of sound mind like other 
men, to serve as jurymen, if wanted, to marry if they 
choose, to have a positive influence in the disposition 
of their children ; and above all things, save them from 
the block of the auctioneer ! 

To do these things aright, they should be supported 
on an entirely different plan from what we now have. 
I am in favor of so arranging matters in relation to 
them, that every pauper may have an opportunity to 
earn money for himself, as a free man, his earnings be- 
ing set down to his credit, and from this deducting his 
expenses ; and so in the town-house, as in the great out- 
side house of the world, supplying man with motive and 
encouragement to personal exertion. Give him useful 
and appropriate employment and a home.* Why not 
give him this encouragement ? Is it not far preferable 
to the rule that now crowds him down quick to the 
grave ? I say we desire a remedy. It is simple duty 
which the town owes to itself. Let us not be proud of 
modernizing and ornamenting our cemetery where the 
sleeping dead repose, while we are guilty of sustaining 
such an institution, so perfectly unhallowed and accursed 
as our corrupt and inhuman poor-house institution, where 

* See Appendix F. & G. 



462 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

the living citizens of the town are driven in their old 
age, sickness and poverty, for support. Why not truly 
support and comfort them ? And echo in her faithfulness 
answers, ' Why not ?' But selfishness yells out her in- 
fernal response, ''It is expensive, and I canH afford it.' 
Away with this refuge of lies. Let us be true to our- 
selves and just to humanity. Let not the reproach any 
longer rest on us that we are faithless, and deserving 
each in his own turn, in himself, his children or chil- 
dren's children, the same bitter shame and experience 
that has now to be expiated by that unfortunate citizen 
of this town, of late worth his hundreds of thousands, 
and now so poor that there are none to do him reverence. 

And hear me but a moment further, while I here 
pledge the town, and here lay down on the table, or in 
the hand of the moderator, the written proposition that 
if the town will now vote to raise the sum of five thou- 
sand dollars, in five annual payments of a thousand dol- 
lars a year, to purchase a town-farm, buildings, etc., etc., 
and raise and empower a committee to act with the 
selectmen of the town in the purchase of it and arrange- 
ment, and choose a town-agent to look directly after the 
afiairs of the paupers, I will, and hereby do, present the 
town with the like sum of five thousand dollars — making 
ten thousand in all — to carry out, in the best possible 
manner, the design of humanity, benevolence, and sim- 
ple justice." 

The old town-hall of Crampton rung with the shouts 
of all the people when young Sherman closed. The 
young men of the town rallied around him ; his friends 
congratulated him ; a great sensation, lasting for seve- 
ral minutes, pervaded the whole meeting. Knots of 
voters here and there discussed the question — some 
even yet holding out ; others giving in, and going for 
the reform. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 463 

At length the moderator, for the third or fourth time, 
calhng for order, Lawyer Tools stepped forward and 
made the following motion : 

Resolved^ That in accordance with the proposition of 
James Sherman, Esq., to appropriate five thousand dol- 
lars to the purchase of a town-farm, with suitable build- 
ings, etc., etc., for the home of the paupers of this town, 
provided a like sum of five thousand dollars be voted 
and raised for this purpose by the voters of the town 
now present ; the whole to be expended or appropriated 
as the town shall direct, under the care of a committee, 
town-agent, and the selectmen of the town — be it there- 
fore voted, that this proposition be, and hereby is, ac- 
cepted, and that a tax necessary to raise the first pay- 
ment of a thousand dollars be now laid. 

The moderator called for remarks. Mr. Savage said 
a few words and sat down ; nobody else followed. The 
vote was put and carried almost unanimously, only ten 
men voting in the negative. 

And thus ended the slavery of Crampton poor-house ! 
Thus came to pass Mag Davis' dream ! Thus was there 
a Providence seen shaping the end of a poor boy, and 
making wealth the instrument of good. 

It is the inordinate and selfish love of money that is 
its evil root. 

If you are blessed with wealth, reader, go make it 
your instrument of good to those who pine away daily, 
sorrowing over crumbs and bones, while you are feeding 
on the fatted calf ind on the sweetest loaves. The 
prayers of the poor are ever ascending to heaven. Oh ! 
let them be in thanksgiving for your mercy — not the 
imprecations of wrath for your cruelty and neglect. 



464 NEW :ingland's chattels ; or, 



CHAPTER XLIV. 

The ^ew Town Farm. Dreams take a high rank. Mercy mingles in the cup ol 
Poverty. Reunion of old Ideas, nothing inconsistent with modern improvements 
and innovations. 

The work of years — the effort to introduce a salutary 
reform is oft the work of years, so slow are mankind to 
adopt new theories and practices for old, even poor 
ones — " the work of years" pushed on by men of clear 
heads, determined and benevolent hearts, was at \ast 
carried. Crampton, that for a long time had refused to 
her paupers the kindly attention and Christian care 
which their enfeebled state demanded, and that had 
even joined other communities in the unrighteous 
work of degrading them, either by a public sale un- 
der the hammer of the auctioneer, or by the private 
sale of the overseers, to the lowest bidder for the year, 
and so emulating or endorsing the high injustice of 
slavery itself — now placed herself on the side of human- 
ity and truth. She voted to do to those who had no 
helper, the work of tender and merciful guardianship, 
and furnish them a home in their old age of bruises and 
poverty and shame. 

" Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least 
of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." 

" I w^as an hungered, and ye gave me meat ; I was 
athirst, and ye gave me drink ; naked, and y.e clothed 
me ; sick and in prison, and ye came unto me." 

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain 
mercy." 



LIFE IN THE NORTHEEN POOR-HOUSE. 465 

" Then said the master of the feast to his servant. 
' Go out into the highways and hedges and bring in 
hither the lame, the halt, and the blind.' " 

" Go ye and tell John, * * * ' The jooor have the Gos- 
pel preached unto them.' " 

" I am come to seek and to save them that are lost." 

GOSPELS. 

The work thus happily begun, went on. * * * And 
now, who of all the citizens of Crampton so fit to repre- 
sent it in the office of Town Agent, as James Sherman 
himself? It was tendered him, and accejDted. 

Here is then one redeemed from the miserable and 
degraded condition of j)auperism, as alas ! too plainly 
visible among us in our free New England, who in his 
elevation shows that society owes it to herself to burst 
off the fetters of the poor, and make them free ; to give 
them the guardianship of a true humanity ; to supply 
all their wants in the spirit of true Christianity, and a 
hopeful, peaceful end. 

In the exercise of its commission, the committee 
made choice of a very fine farm that was offered them, 
situated a mile from the centre, having a large, commo- 
dious house, sheltered by wide-spreading branches of 
trees, occupying a pleasant, elevated site. The house 
might easily be altered to furnish much more room than 
at present would be wanted, and there were barns, 
sheds, and other convenient outbuildings on the premi- 
ses to make the property very well adapted to the wants 
of the new tenants. 

As it was immediately an available possession, the 
committee purchased it. The cost was five thousand 
doUars. 

In a short time the poor were conveyed to their new 
quarters. Words would faintly describe the jov the}^ 

20* 



466 NEW England's chattels ; dr, 

felt, the gratitude they manifested in this change of 
their condition. 

" Oh !" said she, who had lived so long in misery, 
bending now over her staff, away up near the hill-top 
of mortal life — good old pious Mrs. Prescott. " True 
and faithful are thy ways, thou King of Saints. * * * I 
have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed 
begging bread. * * * My life testifies to the good- 
ness, the long-suffering, the faithfulness and mercy of 
the Lord, and now I will sing praises to him as long as 
I live." 

Roxy — poor, emaciated, demented, silly Roxy^ — half- 
witted — sometimes showing a sparkling line of human- 
ity, and then a dull, uncertain glimmering of it ; Roxy, 
believing in, hoping for, living to behold it, the great 
fulfillment of that extraordinary dream, of the wonderful 
wise dreamer Mag ; Roxy sprang up and danced with 
joy, and clad in a neat dress, and placed in a neat room, 
with its cheap, but new and wholesome bed and carpet, 
its sweet little mirror, its washstand and towel, and all 
things necessary for comfort, was she not immensely 
happ3^ ? And Mag said, " This is heaven on earth." 

Mag regarded herself as the prophetess of a new dis- 
pensation, and clothed herself with propriety and dig- 
nity, as with a garment. Mag swore she had said her 
last oath. She vowed henceforth to live a new life, and 
to study and preach the Gospel, The widow Wakeup 
said she was " now willing to depart in j^^aceJ' She 
could now think to say her prayers ; and they did her 
good, because she was not all the time thinking she 
might be sent supperless to bed. " For my part," said 
she, " I have been a very unfaithful Christian ever since 
I Avent to the poor-house, because I have had so little to 
eat, and so many other troubles : the Lord forgive me !" 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 467 

Tucker didn't know what the d it all meant ; but 

he believed in his soul it was " an improvement." 

" Ye-ye-yes, it — it — it-t-t is sof said Sam White. 
"The Lor — Lor — Lord's done — done — it, I hnoio!" 

" I just knew Jims wouldn't leave us," said Bill. " He 
told me he'd work out something for us afore he died, 
as sure as he was a born crittur, and so he's done it." 

Dan says he can verily see a great deal more of the 
Gospel, and get hold of the Christian religion better 
than he ever could before. Somehow or other, the old 

ways looked to him like serving the d , and they 

kept him in the dark, in spite of conscience and the 
Bible. 

There was a great change in every one's counte- 
nance — a happiness in every heart longing for a day of 
jubilee. 

James' attention was at first called to the improve- 
ments and necessary arrangements of the place, so that 
he was there almost every day. One afternoon of a mild 
day, near the close of October, Mr. Rodman, Mrs. Rod- 
man, and Alice were with him walking about the grounds, 
when one of the workmen came and called James to the 
entrance to see an old man in poor raiment, who was in- 
quiring for the town-agent ; so leaving his friends, James 
went with him. Arrived at the gate, a man in poor, 
tattered clothes, leaning on a staff, who was perhaps 
sixty years of age, and looking older than that, bowed 
to him, and stated that he had been directed there to 
see the town-oflScer. 

"I am poor," said he. 

" Come in, my good sir," said James ; " that's a plea 
we regard here ; come in, and I will talk with you. Sit 
down on that seat, for I see you look fatigued." 

" Thank you, sir ; I have walked some distance to- 



468 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

day, but my necessities have compelled me. I am poor, 
sir." 

" Well, I am sorry for that ; we will help you if we 
can ; we do all we can for those who are in want. If 
you are now in need of something to eat, or if you wish 
for rest, you can have it." 

" I have eaten a little by the way, but am more in 
want of repose than of food, having walked over twenty 
miles to-day." 

" Possible ! You look too infirm for so long a walk." 

" It may be, but I have frequently performed a longer 
march. In my life-time I have seen many a weary day, 
sir, and a great many vicissitudes of fortune." 

" I think it very possible," said James. " We have 
here persons of all grades in life ; their private history 
is remarkable." 

" I have seen better days. My youth was fair and 
promising ; I had kind parents ; every thing to make 
me happy ; my misfortunes have been brought on me 
by myself. Now I am probably near the end, and I 
regret my former ways." 

" Life," said James, " is always teaching us a lesson. 
We live to learn in the passing years, how much we 
have done amiss and to repent, often when our repent- 
ance is at so late an hour, we cannot enjoy it as we 
would. But I hope your good days may yet be many ; 
see, here is a cup of our fresh, cool water ! Thank you, 
John ! Now just gather up the limbs and bushes you 
have been trimming off, and throw them together in the 
yard — will you ?" 

" Yes, sir," said the man, and walked away. 

" Have you ever been here before ?" inquired James. 

" Yes, sir ; I suppose this is my native place. I have 
been from it, however, a good many years ; ev^ry thing 
seems new — I scarcely see a face I know." 



LIFE IN THE NOKTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 469 

" And do you propose to apply to us for support ?" 
inquired James. 

" I have thought I must, for I am now old and poor, 
and my means of support are all gone — I have no 
friends, and you see how I am clothed." 

" Have you any legal settlement in the town ?" 

" I don't know that I have ever lost it, except that I 
have resided in foreign parts — not in any other State in 
this country." 

" You have been out of the country — abroad ?" 

" Yes." 

" How long ?" 

" A good many years — thirty or forty." 

" And Cramp ton is your native town ?" 

" It is." 

" Well, please to sit here a few moments. I must see 
some gentlemen on business who have come on the 
grounds, and I mil then return here. Make yourself 
easy." 

So saying, James hurried away, and soon returned up 
the walk accompanied by our old friends, Squire Ben 
Stout and Mr. Haddock. Soon Mr. and Mrs. Rodman 
and Alice joined them, and James pointed out to the 
company the improvements they had made in the walks 
and shrubbery. 

" We have a fine ground here. Squire Ben !" said 
James. 

" Very ! very ! It is an admirable spot — just the 
thing," said the Squire, who at the same time, as he 
now stood very near him, noticed the stranger start 
involuntarily at the mention of his name and the 
sound of his voice, and also that be was intently sur- 
veying him. 

Squire Ben, however, did not at first pay much atten- 



470 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

tion to him, but he said to James — " Who have we here, 
sir ?" 

" He is a stranger, a sufferer. He may need aid from 
the town," said James. 

Squire Ben regarded him a moment with interest. 
" Mr. Haddock !" said he. 

And the stranger started again, and fixing his eyes on 
the two gentlemen, rose to his feet, still leaning on his 
staff. 

" Mr. Haddock !" said Squire Ben, " who is this ?" 

" Pardon me. Squire," returned he, " I do not know. 
He appears truly to be a person in want." 

But the Squire's attention was not lessened by this 
reply. He turned the eyes of the company on him by 
saying — " There is something in the man, that seems 
familiar to me." 

" I see. Squire Stout," said the poor man, " that 
you recognize something in my features, sorrowfully 
worn as they are by the sins and toils of my life, that 
reminds you of the past. And do you, George Had- 
dock, see in me any thing that you can recall or re- 
cognize ?" 

" Something, perhaps, in the voice has a familiar 
sound — I do not notice any thing further " 

" But, good Heavens !" exclaimed the Squire — " for 
God's sake — is it so — or am I mistaken, are you dead or 
alive ? What on earth ! speak again, sir ! what, in the 
name of all the marvellous — what does this mean ?" and 
he grasped the stranger by the hand. " Haddock ! 
Haddock 1 what, don't you see — James ! Jims, for God's 
sake, where are you, Jims ?" 

" Why, here I am I Squire, what do you mean ? 
Speak ! What is all this ?" 

The Squire dropped the hand he had grasped — 
" t/a??ics," said he, " by Heaven, this is your father /" 



LIFE IN THE NORTHEKN POOR-HOUSE. 471 

With a shriek of wild amazement, mingled with moan- 
ing and affection, the son fell on the neck of the stranger 
— himself bewildered now — yet stranger no longer — his 
long-lost FATHER. And they wept together firmly lock- 
ed in each other's arms. And around them was nothing 
but surprise and weeping — even the workmen left their 
labors and the inmates ceased their strolling, and all 
gathered round, and flocked together, weeping and re- 
joicing. 

The father and son were almost borne together by 
their friends to the house, who now entreated them to 
be calm. 

" Take off that accursed robe of poverty and wretch- 
edness — take it from him !" cried James. " He shall 
want no longer ! And if there's a fatted calf on the 
farm let it be killed ; and we will have music and danc- 
ing, for the lost is found. My father who was dead is 
alive again !" 

Nothing like this had ever before transpired in 
Crampton ; nothing ever before so stirred up the feel- 
ings of surprise in its inhabitants, or produced a more 
joyful and tearful set of emotions and sympathies. 

Long explanations followed — too long for us to repeat 
them. We simply say that Mr. Sherman, (for it was 
he,) having survived the attack of fever in the West In- 
dies, and wishing to produce the impression at home of 
his death, had, with the aid of a fellow-sailor, practiced 

deceit on the American Consul, Mr. H s, at Barba- 

does, and shipped for Calcutta. Here he fell into Avays 
of life agreeable to his present views and customs, and 
suffering extremely, enlisted in the service of the East 
India Company. He continued in the British army there 
ten years, when, being severely wounded in an engage- 
ment in a hard battle with the natires of one of the in- 



472 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

terior provinces, be was laid by from further garrison 
and camp dutj^, and transferred, after two years, to tbe 
navy. Here be remained six or eigbt years, and was at 
lengtb released tbrougb tbe agency of tbe American Con- 
sul at Calcutta. He subsequently sailed to tbe Pacific, 
and after tbree years returned again to tliat port, wbere 
be engaged a passage to bis own country. On tbe pas- 
sage be was wrecked on tbe African coast ; and it was 
a long time, at least two years, before be found an op- 
portunity of escape. Wben be did, it was by a vessel 
bound to tbe East ; and it was tbree years before be 
finally reacbed New- York, sick, dispirited, and witbout 
any money to pay bis ordinary expenses. 

In tbis situation, be made an eflfort to reacb bis native 
town. Enfeebled by disease, lame, wounded, destitute 
of money, be begged bis way from town to town, or 
gladly received tbe aid tbat common bumanity proffered 
him, gazing ever earnestly for a sigbt of bis early 
bome. A stranger told bim, as be entered the town, 
tbat the poor-bouse was situated wbere be bad found 
it, and no one bad mentioned to him the name of tbe 
agent.* 

We have little more to say. Tbe arrangements of tbe 
town for the support of the paupers gave almost, if not, 
universal satisfaction. Tbe number of paupers dimin- 
ished under the new treatment, as it was found to con- 
tribute largely to their elevation and improved condi- 
tion generally. The effect on the funds of tbe town was 
such as to convince the most sceptical that it was pecu- 
niarily a great gain. 

Tbe good old widow Prescott, after a short time, died 

* Appendix H. 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 473 

in an unexpected hour, her strength suddenly failing, as 
the very aged often die ; but her mind failed not till near 
the last moment. Among her weeping companions, 
her head supported by James, while Rev. Mr. Rodman 
offered up a prayer for her departing spirit, Mr. and 
Mrs. Haddock, and one or two deacons and brethren of 
the church present, she closed her eyes on the world of 
trials, faith, and patience, and, as we believe, went home 
to the bright world of fruition, glory, and song. Every 
one of the paupers who was able went to her grave and 
saw her buried. This was a new thing to them. They 
began to see the difference in their condition, even at 
funerals ; and being dressed like other people, they were 
not ashamed to walk among the graves, to answer ques- 
tions, and to speak to those who accosted them. They 
could not avoid thinking it was a handsome thing to be 
decently buried ; to see a good many people at your 
grave — i. e., at your companion's grave ; to be thought 
a human being worthy of a burial notice, and perhaps a 
marble slab in memory of one, as at least belonging to 
the great race — the human people. 

Captain Bunce was employed by James and the over- 
seers to assist in the care of the poor. He regained the 
confidence of all who had formerly known him, and be- 
came very useful in the position assigned him. Henri- 
etta, failing day by day, yet rejoicing in the kind provi- 
sion made for her father's comfort, at length found rest 
from all earthly sorrows in the grave. 

So, one after another, dropped from off the Life Book 
on earth these aged and infirm men and women — with 
many it being true that their last were their best days. 
Pray God that they all — yea, that we ourselves all — 
may be found on the Book of Life Eternal in the 



474 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

Heavens — our home there in that house not made with 

hands I 

The venerable Mr. Warren was, soon after the events 

we have now described, gathered to his fathers. 
******* 

" For the needy shall not always be forgotten ; the 

expectation of the poor shall not perish forever." — 

Psalm 9 : 18. 



ITEM. 



Mag Davis — One word about her and a singular coincidence. 
Interested in her personal character, my readers must devour with 
eagerness a precious vwrceau like this, which, I confess, should 
have appeared earlier in this little drama. Mag Davis — don't deny 
it, ladies, and say that Queen Victoria, or the Empress Eugenia were 
the first to discover and apply them — no such thing. Mag Davis, 
beyond all reasonable doubt, was the first one to discover and ap- 
ply that world-renowned appendage to female attire, called hoops. 
The apparatus was of course in her hands, rude, consisting of wooden 
hoops from old casks. But it answered the object, and Mag adopt- 
ing, Roxy imitated and pursued the fashion : so it spread. The 
imitators and disciples of Miss Margaret Davis are now the univer- 
sal daughterhood of Eve. 

This may seem to you, my readers, trifling with a serious, money- 
making business and custom, (and every body knows that hoops are 
the envy of all men !) but I mention it on account of a remarkable 
coincidence, which is, that this fashion (which now pervades the 
world, and has swept the hats of every gentleman, how fine soever 
the beaver, out of all the aisles of the churches in Christendom !) 
which will undoubtedly end i7i the poor-house, should have had its 
ORIGIN there. 

* * * When we last heard of Mag Davis she was in a brown study, 
moody, and complaining. She said she had long since lost sight of 
her own invention, and had altogether abandoned it. Alas ! — yet 
such is often the fate of Genius. 



APPENDIX 



A.— p. 230. 

CURIOUS FACTS. 



Certain inhabitants of Moretown, Vermont, says a Boston paper, 
in order to rid the town of the support of a pauper cripple, feeble in 
body and mind, induced a man to marry her by the payment of §60 
in hand and the promise of ^40 in addition. It appeared that the 
would-be, or hired husband professed to entertain a special spite 
against the town of his own legal settlement, and hoped that he should, 
by the marriage, impose the burden on them. The ceremony took 
place, and the parties lived together about three weeks, when the 
husband abandoned the wife, in consummation of his original purpose. 
On her petition for a decree of nullity, the Court held that the trans- 
action was wanting in all the essentials of a valid marriage. It was 
a sham and pretence ; and in regard to the petitioner, it was a most 
flagrant and disgraceful fraud. — iV. Y. Sun. Jan. 8. 1857. 



B.— p. 234. 

ANSWERS GIVEN TO QUESTIONS PUT BY THE AUTHOR. 

I. Question. '• What civil rights do they lose, if any, in becoming 
paupers ?" 

Ans. " The right to vote, and to hold property as against the town 
which supports them." - 

Question. " Can they vote ?" 

Ans. '• No." 

Question. " Can they act on a jury ?" 

Ans. "No." 

Question. " (/an they own any prcperty ?" 

Ans, "No." 



476 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

Question. " Can thej, if they have children, direct when and where 
they shall be apprenticed out ?" 

Ans. '• No." 

Mass. Law. Answers given bj' D. B., Esq., an Attorney residing in 
the State. 

II. Question. " What civil rights do they lose ?" 

Ans. '"Jurors must be freeholders : they cannot act as jurors." 

Question. " Can they vote ?" 

Ans. "Yes." 

Question. " Can they own any property V 

Ans. " If they relinquish their support as paupers, they can." 

Question. " Can they legally marry ?" 

Ans. •' Yes : But when the overseers of one town fraudulently pro- 
cure a male pauper of another town to marry their female pauper, 
such marriages have been annulled." 

(I believe the overseers of the poor always object to paupers mar- 
rying where the said marriage will be a burden to the town. They 
do not oppose the marriage of a woman who is on the pauper list, to 
a man who is a freeholder, or who will take her away to another 
town. Author".) 

Question. As to children ? Ans. As before. 

Vermont Law. Answers by L. G. M., Esq., and J. D. B., Esq., at- 
torneys residing in the State. 

By the laws of Connecticut, Judge of New Haven, and 

Judge E. R. F. of the same city, informed the writer, formerly pau- 
pers could not act as jurors, because required to be freeholders^ 
which restriction was now removed. — Pauperage itself does not dis- 
qualify for voting. But children are not under the direction of their 
parents. The usual marriage restriction prevails in Conn. Paupers 
cannot there choose their own mode, or place of support. Neither 
can they select their own masters. They are often kept on poor fare in 
miserable houses. 



C— p. 447. 

Judge T. B. Osborne, of New Haven. Conn., informed me that three 
towns, including the old and respectable town of Fairfield as one of 
them, combined together and built a poor-house for their common use. 
Here he said the utmost filth, vice and wretchedness prevailed. Sev- 



LIFE IN THE NORTUERN POOR-HOUSE. 477 

era! children, in the most squalid, degraded condition, were kept there, 
and no body would tolei-ate one of them in his house. At length 
two ladies determined to investigate the matter and attempt its re- 
form. They made a visit to the poor-house, and such was their re- 
port of its condition that the town took up the matter and voted it 
a nuisance, and broke up the establishment. The ladies then took 
these children, washed them, dressed them, took care of them, and ap- 
plying for it to the legislature, obtained an act incorporating their 
society as the Female Benevolent Society of Fairfield, (I think.) The 
town also voted to give them the amount it had formerly paid for the 
support of the poor. They went forward with their benevolent en- 
terprise, and soon had the happiness to see the whole system of 
squalid pauperism, especially in respect of children, entirely run out. 
The children were placed in good families, the best of families. Mrs. 

O herself brought up one of them, a young girl, who married 

afterwards one of the most respectable and intelligent men in the 
county. The wife of the Hon. R. M. S., brought up several of them, 
who were afterwards among the finest women m that vicinity. And 
one excellent result of this movement was, almost totally to put an 
end to all such vagrancy and pauperism in the town,. — Auth. 

Mr. Brewster says of the Alms House in New Haven : " Provi- 
dentially I visited the Alms House, and found it in a miserable con- 
dition — three-fourths of all the inmates having been brought there 
directly or indirectly by intemperance, and they still had access to 
strong drink. Not only this ; it was a brothel ; many had been con- 
fined there for licentiousness, and the evil was continued in the place 
designed for reform. But more than all, I found more than a score 
of children, some of whom were the ofispring of the inmates, and many 
were orphans indeed. 

The condition of all was deplorable. No stated or uniform wor- 
ship was held on the Sabbath; and the instruction of the children, 
if instructed at all, was conducted in the most loose and indifferent 
manner." Mr. Brewster's Private Journal. — Auth. 

Mr. Brewster advocated at the town meeting his plan of improv- 
ing the condition of the inmates, and was met generally by jeers and 
rebukes, and especially when he asked for an additional tax of one 
cent on the dollar to effect his plans. — Auth. 



478 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

D.-p. — . 

The writer proposed questions which were answered by L. G. 

Mead, Esq., J. Dorr Bradley Esq.. and 0. Smith, Esq. of B" , Vt., 

to this effect 

Question. " Are the paupers any direct tax on the town, as you 
keep them ?" 

Ans. " The farm cost ^2,500. Its interest is no otherwise realiz- 
ed than being thus applied. The superintendent has a salary of $;200. 
Some years a trifle is saved towards the next year's wants or im- 
provements. At other times the expenses slightly overrun the 
earnings. 

Question. " Were they not formerly a direct tax on the town ?'' 
Ans. "They formerly cost nearly (not quite) f}^l,000 per annum." 
Question. " Does the present mode work more beneficially to the 
paupers as well as more profitably to the town, than did the old 
method of keeping them ?" (i. e. by sale, contract, private agreement.) 
Ans. " Much, very much better for both." 

Question. " Is the old method entirely or but partially abandoned ?" 
Ans. "Only partially, but the change is progressing." 
Question. " In what manner were they formerly kept ?" 
Ans. " By contracts with persons to board and clothe them, each 
being sold separately, and by contract with the Doctor for medical 
attendance for the whole. 

Says James Brewster, Esq : " In the year 1825, my attention was 
called to the subject ; and at our annual town meeting of that year 
I asked an appropriation for improving the condition of the Alms 
House, and gave my views in full. A committee was appointed, who, 
after an investigation of the matter in all its relations, reported in 
fa^or of my proposition, and the appropriation was granted. The 
moral and physical improvement of the paupers were considered as 
indissoluhly connected^ and it was recommended that suitable employ- 
ment should be found for all. 

The improvements were effected as speedily as possible, and labor 
suitable to the ability of the inmates was introduced in all the de- 
partments. Those most able were employed in farming and horti- 
cultural pursuits, and the products were sent in their season to mar- 
ket, where they found ready sale. 

The beneficial effects were soon manifest, not only in the improved 
condition of the inmates, but in the decrease of the expenses of their 



LIFE IN THE NORTHERN POOR-HOUSE. 479 

support. Although the population of the city at that time was (less 
than) but about seven thousand, the annua,! cost was about !^5.000, 
The improvement has been progressive ; and though we have now 
some thirty-three thousand inhabitants, yet for many years past the 
income has exceeded the expenditures. 

As a moral duty, no one should be indifferent to the condition of 
the poor ; for such are the vicissitudes of human life, that many of 
the descendants of those who once rode in their coaches through 
Broadway are now inmates of an Alms House." 

Mr. White in his report, says of the new Alms House and farm at 
New Haven ; 

" Ninety acres of land were bought about a mile and a half from 
the centre of the city, and a new Alms House erected. The land 
cost $100 per acre, the buildings .§15,000. Soon after this, expendi- 
tures were made for farm buildings and stock, beside 150 acres of 
wood land, which brought the whole outlay nearly to$30,000. Much 
objection was raised against these appropriations, but it proved a 
most fortunate investment, as in consequence of the advance of the 
city in that direction, the farm of 90 acres could now be sold for more 
than four times its original cost. 

COMPARATIVE ECONOMY OF OLD AND NEW SYSTEMS, 

'•From the year 1811 to the year 1820 inclusive, the expenditures 
of the town for the support of the poor in the Alms House alone was 
$42,902, or about $4,300 a year. This was under the old system, 
with all its folly, laziness, filth and licentiousness ; and as the popu- 
lation of New Haven was then 6.000, we may infer that under a like 
system, to-day, now that the population is 30,000, the yearly expen- 
diture would be over $21,000. But under the present system, with 
its stately edifice, its fine farm, its neatness and home-like comforts, 
the institution proves not only self-sustaining, but actually a revenue 
to the town. Expenses from 1852 to 1856 inclusive, 5 years, $14, 
075,50. Eeceipts for the same period, $15,539,68 ! The success of 
this reform is triumphant." 

In the Springfield, !Mass. Republican, Jan. 13, 1857, we read as 
follows, (the article by the editor is a review of Mr. Brewster's let- 
ter to the N. Y. Tribune on Pauperism.) 

" The New Haven policy is that which is aimed at in Massachu- 
setts, in connection as well with the reformatory as the charitable 
institutions, but without the same success. The State paupers are 



480 NEW England's chattels ; or, 

a heavy tax upon the commonwealth, and the town paupers upon the 
towns. * * * * l^he aim to make every pauper establishment, 
so far as possible, a self-supporting one, is a humane aim as well as 
one which best consults a sound public policy. * * * 

Thus there is essentially no pauperism in New Haven. The City 
takes those who are not all able to manage for themselves, and man- 
aging for them, places them where they can earn their own living. 
In other words, the pauperism of New Haven is a self-supporting 
institution." 



E.— p. 459. 

From returns to the General Assembly of Connecticut, in May, 
1852, by a committee on the subject of State and Town Paupers, it 
appears that there were in 1851, in 134 towns from which reports 
were obtained, (there being 15 other towns that gave no answers,) 
3,680 paupers in the State. These were kept in 37 Alms Houses, 
and 90 Poor-Houses, and other places as circumstances made it de- 
sirable. 

From these returns, which must be regarded as authentic, inas- 
much as they were given by the proper authorities of the several 
towns, it appears that in the year 1851 there were actually reported 
3,680 paupers, and the remaining 15 towns would probably swell the 
number to 4,000. We find in these papers, prepared with much 
care and printed by order of the General Assembly or Legislature, 
of that state, that — 

In Hartford County : 

There were in the to^vn of Avon, 12 paupers, costing the town per year $240, 
1. e. $20 per year fur each pavjper, or a 2-3 cents each per day. How many crackers would 
this buy? 

Windsor, same county, 56 paupers, cost $838,56 : each per year$14.97, perday 4 1-lOc. 
In New Haven Coun^- : 

Branford, 17 paupers, cost S193,29 : each per year $29,00, per day 7 9-10 c. 
In New London County : 

Groton, 22 paupers cost $492 : each per year $22,36, per day 6 1-10 c. 
In Fairfield County : 

Huntington, 25 paupers cost $400 : each per year $16,00 : each per day 4 1-3 c. 

Wilton. 24 '• " $490 : " " •' $20,41 2-3 " " '• 5 6-10 c. 

Westport, 40 " " $620 : " " " $15,50 : " " " 4 1-4 c. 

In Litchfiold County : 

Barkhamsted, 34 " " $500 : " " " $14,70." 
In Middlesex County : 

Haddam, 32 paupers " $497 ; « " " $15,53 

In Tolland County: 

Vernon, 30 paupers " $680: " " " $22,66 
In Windham County : 

Pomfret, 14 pauiiers " $350 : " " " $25,00 

BR00KLY5, 19 " " $-450 : " " " $23,68 



4 1-10 c 

41-4 c. 

61-4 c. 

6 4-5 c. 
6 2-5 c. 



LIFE IN THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 481 

Some of the towns mentioned in the report from which we make 
up this little morceau, gave more than those we have mentioned. 
The average cost here is less than 7 cents each per day.* 

According to the United States census of 1850, there were in Conn, 
supported in whole or in part for the year ending June 1st, 2,337 
paupers. This is, I think, far below the truth. — Author. 

From the same returns, Massachusetts is represented as supporting 
but 3,712 paupers, but by the Mass. State Returns in ISoG, there were 
21,102 paupers relieved in whole or in part. 

In Massachusetts : 
Northampton, with a population of 5,278 souls, 38 were wholly 
relieved, 16 partially— costing §633 ; 17 of those relieved were by the 
Masons and Odd Fellows, 

From the census we also gather this remarkable fact, viz., that in 
the ten years from 1843 to 1853, the order of Odd Fellows had paid to 
relieve its poor and sick members an aggregate of §3.023,221 ! 

The census also shows that whereas much relief has been granted 
to the poor by Ladies' Sewing Circles, by Widows' and Orphans' 
Societies, by Churches, viz,, Cong., Bap., Meth., Episco., Pres., Relig- 
ious Societies in General. Sons of T., Daughters of T.. Masons, Hiber- 
nian Societies, Odd Fellows' Lodges, Fuel Societies, City Missions, &c., 
&c,, these have been generally, (not always.) but in the great majority 
of cases, given to relieve the partially poor, not the absolute paupers, 
* Tho report closes as follows : 

" This subject viewed in any of its aspects, is one of great interest and importance to 
the people of this State. In a pecuniary view alone, the annual expenditure of nearly 
one hundred thousand dollars, demands a scrutinizing and vigilous attention]; but in 
Its moral and sooiiil aspects it makes upon us a far higher demand. For lie, who 
created man in His own express Ukeness and image, hath ordained to him other and 
deepel- wants than those he feels in common with the brute. Neglect may leave the 
skin to be shrivelled wth cold, and the stomach to be pinched with hunger ■ but the 
heart and the spirit may be left to a keener and a deeper suffering stU] ; and any system 
of Charity which merely provides for the sufferings of the former, entii-ely regardless of 
the latter, is hardly worthy of the name. 

Mere food and raiment are not enough. The virtuous aged and infii-m Bhoiild be 
fostered with respect, and in substantial ease and comfort ; the sick should have kind 
nnd careful ministrations ; the ab.e should be required to labor for the common support 
aocordmg to their real strength and ability ; the young should be properly trained and 
educated and all should he surroimded by a genial, moral, and social home influence '• 
A good report, good, generous sentiments, and the public shall have the names of the 
committee who drafted it. They are If. H. Morgan, S. H. Kbeler * ♦ * 

And Judge Osborne, together with the young Secretary of State, Hon. N. D Sperry 
whofurn,,hed me with the report and with other valuable information, will please 
accept mj thankg.— Author. 



482 NEW ENGLAND'S CHATTELS ; OR, 

So the census has it in two divisions, as " number wholly reUeved^^^ 
paupers in re, and as '■^number relieved in part" i. e. the common 
and respectable poor, who are thus, it may be, kept out of the poor- 
house. — AUTH. 



F,— p. 461. 

Pauperism abroad : in Belgium, showing its frightful extent, and 
that " in procuring labor for the poor" is the hope of its abatement. 

ACTH. 

" Pauperis Ji. — The discussions of the Second Chamber on the Char- 
itable Institutions bill elicited very valuable information on the 
present state of pauperism in Belgium. According to Tsl. Percival, a 
speaker of the Liberal party, the nation consists of 908,000 families, 
89,000 of which are wealthy, 373,000 are in embarrassed circum- 
stances, and 446,000 live upon what every day brings them. Of the 
latter 226,000 femilies are paupers, whom the state has to support. 
The aggregate income of the charitable institutions amounts to about 
ten millions of francs. Estimating the number of paupers who have 
to be supported at 800,000 individuals, the average support which 
the charitable institutions are able to afford to every individual would 
be four centimes a day. From 1828 to 1850, the number of paupers 
has been increased by 300,000 individuals, and from 1840 to 1850, 
the communities have had to contribute thirty millions for the sup- 
port of the paupers. ]\I. Percival concludes from these frightful 
statistics, the accuracy of which no speaker from the other side of 
the Chamber has contested, that the solution of the question of 
pauperism lies neither in an unlimited freedom of donations and be- 
quests, nor in the restoration of corporations with personal rights, 
but in procuring labor for the poor. Some of the Catholic speakers 
charged against Protestantism with having produced pauperism, and 
found the only remedy for it in the Catholic Church, and more par- 
ticularly in the spreading of convents, but they did not explain why 
so many countries which are almost entirely without a Protestant 
population, suffer so dreadfully from the spreading of pauperism," 
N. Y. Independent, June 25, 1857. 



• LIFE M THE NOETHERN POOR-HOUSE. 483 

G.— p. 461. 

Pauperism in England and "Wales. — It declines when the poorer 
classes can have employment. A few years since the paupers of 
England,- Scotland, Ireland and Wales, were estimated at several 
millions. And even now, by the following ' Parliamentary return,' 
the paupers of England and Wales are nearly 1,000,000 persons. — 

AUTH. 

" Decline op Pauperism. — It is gratifying to observe, from a Par- 
liamentary return issued on Tuesday, that throughout the quarter 
ending at Lady-day last, there has been in every week a diminution 
of the numbers relieved both of in-door and out-door paupers, in 
England and Wales, as compared with the corresponding weeks of last 
year. In the last week of the quarter the total number was 897,445, 
against 928,561 last year, showing a decrease of 31,110. This is 
doubtless to be attributed, to a considerable extent, to the comparative 
cheapness of bread ; but it is also a favorable indication as regards 
the employment of the poorer classes." — N. Y. Independent, July IG, 
1857. 

In 1848 the number relieved in England and Wales, in door and 
out door, was 1,026,201."— C/". S. Census, 1850. 



H.— p. 472. 

The following bit of ' Romance' we found in either a New York or 
Philadelphia paper, but were unusually careless at the time in noting 
which. — AuTH. 

Romance of Life. 

The Orleans Republican, published at Albion, gives the following 
instance of romance in real life : 

" In 1816 an enterprising man, possessed of some capital, removed 
to this section, which was then an unbroken forest, and took up a 
considerable tract of land, a part of which is now included in the 
limits of our thriving village. Where the Seminary now stands, he 
commenced his clearing, and built his humble cabin. After a while 
he became discontented, perhaps involved, sold his farm for a trifle, 
and suddenly disappeared, leaving behind his wife and child. After 
the lapse of years, a rumor came that he had been accidently killed 
in Canada, llis supposed widow, re-married, lived with her second 



484 NEW England's chattels 

husband several years and died. In the fall of 1855, an old man, of 
most forlorn appearance, was seen at the corner of our principal 
streets, inquiring for the Poormaster. That officer was pointed out, 
and the old man told him that poverty had overtaken his old age, 
and that as he was one of the pioneers of Orleans county, he' thought 
he should be supported here, and concluded by asking to be sent to 
the county house. After becoming satisfied of his identity, the Poor- 
master took him to the county house, and then proceeded to inform 
the son, whom the father considered dead, that his long absent parent 
was alive and had returned. The son — who was well-to-do in the 
world — immediately sought out his father and took him home, where 
he still is." 

Instances of re-union after so long a separation are rare ; and still 
less often does it happen that a man returns to what was once his 
own property, and which he left almost an unbroken wilderness, to 
find it a thriving and prosperous village of four thousand inhabitants, 
and to witness on every hand evidence of wealth, while he who was 
formerly lord of the soil still remains in abject poverty. 



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From (he Christian Advocate and Journal 
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I<J From the Dispatch, Kichmond, Va. .g 

OS Jesus was man, as well as God ! In this book Ho is seen^ conversed with, eaten gg 
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""^ ■' ■■' * ' to a lost TTorld." It is divided into four parts, under 6^ 



Christ and Him Crucified ;" t] 
These are subdivided into 



love of Christ, as manifested 

the following general heads : " The Love of Christ ;" 
" AVanderings of a Pilgrim ;" " Immanuel's Land; 
some eight or ten chapters each. 

From the New- York Chronicle. 
In coming to the pages of this good book, after noticing so many of quite a differ- , i 
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|) •A BOO EL FOR EI'*ZiiY' ^^MILY*, 



9 

uisriArERSA.1:. guide, 

8vo., Paper. Price 50 cents. 

This Book makes known some of the most remarkable discoveries in Household 
Affairs. Many of these Piccipes have never before been published, and actually 
cost from $20 to S50 each ; and we believe that the Contents below will strong- 
ly commend the Work to the Patronage of every Family in the land. Here will 
be found ample information upon a varietj' of important subjects, from the best 
authorities. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 

Part I. — The Arts Revealed, or, Secrets made Knnjon. — Tlie Celebrated Chiuese Cement, fur 
I Mending Glass, Marble, China, Earthenware, &c. ; The Magic Copj'ing Press or Manifold Writer, 
Recipe tor the Colors used ; to make a Powder by which you Write with Water ; Powder for 
; Removing Superfluous Hair ; Imperial Gina:er Pop ; Volatile Soap for removing Paint, Grease- 
spots, &c. ; White Spruce Beer ; Cheap and Excellent Blue Color for Ceilings, &c, ; Unsurpassed 
I Blacking ; Ink Powder for Immediate Use ; to make Ink for marking Linen with Type ; For In- 
, delible Ink ; Common Small Beer ; Boot Beer ; to make Cologne Water ; to take off instantly 
^ the Copy of a Print ; to Prepare a Transparent Paper for Drawing ; to make Water Oil for 
Painters ; to make Paint without White Lead and Oil ; to Prepare Gun Cotton ; to Remove 
j Writing Ink from a Printed Page ; Composition for Lucifer Matches ; Lemon Syrup ; To make 
; Sarsaparilia Mead ; Essences ; A VVaterproof Glue ; Celebrated Kecipe for Silver Wash ; Remark- 
able Chemical Erasive Compound ; Gold and Silver Coin Detector ; Iron Cement ; Wood Cement ; 
Infallible Cure for Cancer. 

Part II. — Invaluable Recipes for Families. — To setColors Past in Calicoes and other Goods : to 
take Stains out of Mahogany ; to Restore Colors taken out by Acids ; to take Mildew out of 
Linen ; to Clean badly-soiled Bed ticks ; to Destroy Bed Ants ; to Cleanse Black Veils ; to Clean 
Britannia or Silver ; Cure for Bleeding at the Stomach ; Hard Soap ; Method of Cleaning China ; 
to Cleanse Foul Casks ; to Destroy Bedbugs ; To Preserve Hams ; Labor-saving Soap ; To Clean 
Light Kid Gloves ; to Clean Stoves and Stone Hearths ; to Clean Mahogany and Marble Furni- 
ture ; to Restore Rusty Italian Crape ; to Clean Phials and Pie Plates ; to Cleanse Feather Beds 
and Mattresses ; to Remove Paint and Putty from Window Glass ; tc extract Stains from While 

- Cotton Goods and Colored Silks ; to Extract Grease from silks, Paper, Woolen Goods, and Floors , 
to Remove Black Stains on Scarlet Woolen Goods ; to Remove Stains from Broadcloth ; to Ex- 
tract Ink from Floors ; on the Mixture of Colors ; Names of Principal Dyeing Drugs ; Causes for 
the Holding of Colors ; Lime Water ; of Blue, Black ; to make Chemio Blue and Green ; on Dye- 
ing Silks in the Small or False Dye ; for Discharging Colors ; Light Blue SUks, Green Silks ; A 
very pretty Hair Brown ; for Slate-colored Silks ; for a Stone-colored Silk ; to Make Half Violet 
or Lilac ; to Dye a Shawl Crimson ; to make Flesh Colors ; for a Common Shawl ; for Dyeing 

' Straw and Chip Bonnets ; for Dyeing Silk Stockinv,? Black ; on Dyeing Blacks and Browns ; to 
take Stain of Dye from Hands ; for Bleaching Cotl-cn ; for Slate-colored Cotton ; for an Olive 

j Green ; for a Full Yellow ; to Dye a Pelisse Black ; to Dye Woolen Stuffs Black ; A Pretty Red 
Brown, very bright, the Dye costing but sixpence ; for Dyeing Black Cloth a Dark Green ; L^rec- 
tions for Washing Calicoes ; for Cleaning Silk Goods ; for Washing White Cotton Cloths j for 
Washing Woolens ; to Clean Woolen and SUk Shawls. 

1 Part IV.— Important Im^ruclums to Touno Ladies and Young Omilemen in Reject to Dress, 
Clea-nlino'S. <£c. — The Dress, Evening Dresses ; the Hat, High-neck Dresses ; Flounces, Tucks ; 
Short Cloaks, Dressing the Hair ; Gaps, Purity of Breath; Important hints to Young Men ; Style 
and Dress of Gentlemen ; Choic3 of a Wife ; How to Treat a Wife ; A Gnide in all Things. 

» [Continued on nead page. 



1 



AETS EEVEALED.—OontaiU ConUmied. 

Part V. — NeedUvyrrk for Totmg Ladies, embradng In^ructums in Embroidery on Muslin, SiUt 
Vdvet, lie. — Kmbroidery with FI088, three-corded isilk, Chenille. Worsted, &c. ; Raised Embroid- 
ery ; atitches in Embroidery on Muslin and Lace- Work ; Iiouble Button h<fle Stitch ; Gluver'B 
Stitch, Eyelet Holes ; Embroidery, Feather Stitch ; Formation of Bars ; Button-hole Stitch, 
Darniug ; Eyelet holes in Lacework ; Interior Stitch, Chain .stitch ; Veining Open Hem ; Pearl- 
ing. Lines ; Straight Open Hem ; Half Herring bone Stitch ; Tambour Stitch, Spots on Net ; Em- 
broidery on Muslin ; Embroidery in Gold Thread ; Ia:?tructions ia Lace-work ; Embroidery for 
Insertion ; Things to be Remembered. 

Part VI. — Rules of Politeness for Ladies and Oentlenun. — Rules of Politenees ; Models of Invito" 
tiou Cards ; How to Address a Lady ; Language of the Finger Ring j Rules of Conversation • 
Young People's Primary Instruction in the Art of Drawing.- ' 

Part VH. — Miscellaneous Recipes, — To, keep the Hair from falling off ; Oil for!the Hair, to make 
it Curl ; to CUfe Freckles, Shaving Soap ; Tincture for Diseased Gums ; Red Boitle Wax ; White- 
wash that will not Rub off ; to make Cloth wind and rain proof ; J'eathers, Icy Steps ; to Poli.ih 
Stoves, Black Ball ; Inflamed Eyes ; to Blacken the Eyelashes ; to Perfume Clothes ; Certain Cure 
for Eruptious, Pimples, ic; Cheap, white House Paint ; Confectionery : Ornamental Frosting ; 
to Clarify Sugar for Candies ; Fine Peppermint Lozenges ; Icing for Cakes ; Saffron Lozenges ; 
Strawberry Ice Cream. 

Part Vin. — T%e Doctor ai Home. — New Cure for Consumption, Scrofula, Rickets, Diarrhsea, &c. ; 
Cure tor a Xail Run into the Foot ; Fever and Ague ; Cure for the Toothache ; A very Strength- 
ening Drink ; Cure for Rheumatism ; Very Valuable Remedy for Rheumatism ; Cure for Hydro- 
phobia ; Tonic Bitters, Bowel Complaints ; Inflammation of the Bowels ; Common Canker, Gravel; 
Prevention of Bilious Fever ; Consumption ; Hypochondria, or Hysteric Passion ; Rabes, or Hy- 
dvoidkobia-, Incubus, or Niglitmare ; Cough Compound, Canker Cure ; Piles, Dysentery ; Pain in 
the Breast or Side; Convulsion Fits, Inward Ulcers ; Sore Eyes, Numb Palsy ; Flying Rheuma- 
tism ; Rheumatic Oil, Soothing Lotion ; Dysentery Spec\lic, particularly for Bloody Dysentery ; 
Invalid Cordial ; Balm of Life, Headache Drops ; for Cleansing and Purifying the Blood ; for 
Strengthening and Invigorating the Nerves ; A Shrank Sinew or Stiff Joint ; Cancer of the 
Breast ; Remedy for Cancer. 

Part IX. — Medical Qualities of Roots and fferbi. — Black Aider : Alam Root — Angelica: Thorn 
Apple ; Arrow-Root — Avens Root : A?;irum, or .Swamp Asarabacca : Agrimony : Beech Drops : 
Bearberry : Five Fingers, or Cinquefoil : Crawley, or Fever Root : Comfrey , Feather-few : Black- 
berry : Dandelion— Wild Turnip . Blood Root — Thoroughwort : Indian Tobacco : Wlntergreen : 
Burdock — Pleurisy Root : Queen of the Meadow : Cicuta, or Poisoc Hemlock : Broad Leaved 
Laurel : Sweet Flag, Rose Willow : Dogwood, Dwarf Elder : American Gentian: Sampson Snake- 
root : Foxglove, Tobacco : Mustard, Mallows : Oak Bark, Deadly Nightshade : American Ipecac, 
or Indian Physic : Camomile : Rhubarb Root : Mandrake, or May Apple : Colt's Foot, Bitter-: 
sweet : Pokeweed : Shumach, orShoemake : Slippery Elm. Poplar : Sanicle, Black Snake-root r 
Skuuk Cabbaue : Tansy : Wormwood, Horse Radish : King's Evil Weed: Oak of Jerusalem, o: 
Wormseed : American Senna : Yellow Dock, Gravel Weed : SarsapariUa, Beth Root : Tag Alder : 
Langworth, Ladies' Slipper : Rattlesnake's Plantain, Blue Flag: Sassafras, River Willow; 
Milkweed : Peach Tree, Valerian ; Butternut Tree, Ground Pine : Blue Kohosh : White Poppy : 
Peppeiiuint, Charcoal of Wood : Ergot, Smut Rye, or Spurred Rye : Hops : Sweet Fern: Mea- 
dow Saffron : Witch Hazel • Prickly Ash : Directions for Collecting and Preserving Vegetables ; 
Roots, Seeds and Fruits : Leaves and Flowers. 

Part X. — Di'cases "f Children. — ^Treatment of Infanta ; Infant's Syrup ; Cholera Infantum, 
Hiccups ; Griping and Flatulency ; the Thru.sh, Diarrhjea ; Cutaneous Eruptions ; Falling dowi» 
of the Fundament ; Dentition or Cutting Teeth ; Convulsions, the Rickets ; Inward Fits ; Distor- 
tion of the Spine; Dropsy on the Brain, or Hydrocephalus, Causes, Treatment: Inflamma- 
tion of the Trachea, Hives, Rattles, or Croup ; Croup, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment : th« 
Sleep of Infants : the Y'ellow Gum : Aphthoe or Thrush, Acidities : Galling and Excoriation : 
Vomiting. 

Part Xn. — AccidenU or Emergencies. — How to be Prepared for Accidents and Emergencies ; Re- 
medies for Poisons ; for Corrosive Sublimate ; Sugar of Lead ; for Opium, Laudanum, Hemlock, 
and other Vegetable Poisons ; for Tartar Emetic ; Bite of a R.attlesnake ; for Oil of Vitriol, Tar- 
taric or Prusaic Acid, or any other Acid ; for Potash or other Alkalies ; for Arsenic, Drowned 
Persons ; Cautions in Visiting Sick Rooms ; Security against Lightning ; The Tongue ; to make 
Leeches Take Hold; Castor-Oil made Palatable ; Poultices ; to Purify the Atmosphere of a Sick 
Room ; Importance of WeU-Ventilatod Apartments ; Three Rules for Preserving Good Health ; 
Consumption ; Codfish Liver Oil for Consumption ; Rules for Diet and Digestion ; General Rule* 
for Preserving Life and Health ; Sir R. PhUip's Rules ; Dr Boerhaavo's Rules. 

The way to get a cojiy of ARTS REVEALED, is to send iis 50 cents in 
posta<Te sttmps, and we will send you a copy by return of mail, postage pai^l. 
Ac!-!n-^^, H. DAYTON, Publisher, 

- 107 NASSAU-ST.,N.T. 



JS'E'W "VVOEKII 



AXD 

HOUSEKEEPEES' GUIDE. 



8vo., Paper. Price 50 Cents. 



We believe that no one can read the contents of this work, without being 
convinced of its great cheapness and utility. 

Here will be found about 500 recipes, embracing the very best directions for 
the Behavior and Etiquette of Ladies and Gentlemen ; Ladies' Toilette Table ; 
Safe Directions for the Management of Childi-en ; and a large variety of plain 
common sense Eecipes on Cookery, &c., &c., &c. 



T.A.BLE OF COiTTE3SrTS. 



PART I. 

Ague : Air : Asiatic Cholera : Asthma, Cure of Eillious Choh'c ; Billious Complaints : Bite of 
Poisonous Creatures : Bleeding at the Lungs, Stomach, and from the Nose : Bloody Urine : 
Boils : Bowel Complaints in Children : Burn or Scald : Burns : Cancer : Callus : Catarrh : Cer- 
tain Cure for a Cold : Chilblain : Cholera Morbus : Consumption, No. 1 : Consumptive Cough : 
Continued Fever: Convulsion Fits : Corns: Costiveness in Children : Coughs and Colds in Chil- 
dren : Cough : Cough, Recipe for : Courses, painful ; Cow-pox : Cramp in ths Stomach : Croup 
No. 1 : Croup, No. 2 : Cutting Teeth: Deafness : Delirium Tremens : Diabetes : Diarrhoea': 
Distress after Eating : Dropsy : Dropsy of the Head : Drowning, recovery from : Dysentery • 
Dyspepsia : Earache, No. 1 : Earache, No. 2 : Elecampaign for a Cough : Epeleptic Fits ; Eyes' 
Inflammation of : Eyes, Sore and Weak : Eyes, Weeping : Falling of the Bowels in Children ': 
Felon in the Eye : Felon on the Hand : Female Obstructions : Fever and Ague : Fever Sore : 
Fits or Convulsions in Children : Flaxseed Tea : Fluor Albus : Food for Children : Food for In- 
fants brought up by hand : Frost Bite : Gleets : Good Remedy for Fits : Gout : Gravel or Stone 
No. 1 : Gravel or Stone No. 2 : Headache, Sick : Hiccough : Hoarseness : Humors, No. 1 : 
Humors, No. 2 : Hysterics ; Inflammatory Fever : Itch ; Jaundice : Joints, Stiffened : Keeping 
Children clean : King's Evil : Lame Feet : Liver Complaint, No. 1 : Lock ^faw : Measles : Medi- 
cine for Children : Menstrual Difcharges : Mortification : Mumps : Nervous Affections : Nip- 
ples, Sore : Numb Palsey : Old and Inveterate Sores : Old Sores, to Cure : Pains : Painter's 
ChoHc : Palpitation of the Heart : Pectoral Syrup for Coughs : Files : Piles, Bleeding : Phthis- 
ic : Pimples : Poisons, taking, Tartar Emetic : Poisons, Saltpetre, Laudanum, Lunar Caustic, 
Corros. Sublimate : Polypus : Raising Blood : Rattlesnake Bite : Rattles in Children : Recipes 
for Rheumatism : Remedy for Dropsy in the Head : Rheumatic Plaster : Rickets, Symjitoms 
of: Rickets, Remedy for. Ring Worms: Rupture: Salt Rheum : Scarlet Fever : Scrofula, Humor: 
Scrofula: Scrofula, Remedy for : Scurvey ; Sleep, to procure it; Smallpox : Sore Throat, Pu-' 
trid : Sore Legs : Sore Lips : Spine Compiaints : Sprains ; St. Anthony's Fire : Stomach Sick- 
ness ; Strengthening plaster ; Strained' Stomach : St. Vitus' Dance : Sweat : Swellings, to 
reduce them ; Swelluigs, No. 2 ; Tape Worm ; Teething and Diarrhoea in Children ; Tic liolo- 

[Continu«i on next f<iQt. 



to Pienerve ; Family Minco Vie ; Peach Jam : Puiupkin Pie ; Raspberry 
Squash Pie ; Strawberry Jam ; Sprace Beer ; Tomato Catsup ; Tomato Sau 



* " INDISPENSABLE COilPANIO> —Contents Coniinued. 

reaux ; Toothache, No. l,No. 2, Ko. 3 ; Treatment of XMUren; Typhus Fever ; Ulcer ; UK' 
Inward ; Universal Cure all ; Urinary l>i.scharges, too ^r s; Urinary Obstructions ; Varioloii 
Volatile Liniment ; Vomiting prevented ; Wiirta, Na. ^ V7artd, Ko. 2 ; Weak Fyes ; We.i 
Limbs ; Weak Stomach •, Wen ; Wliite llixture for » i Jugh, No. 1, So. 2 ; W'lnle.s ; WLiI 
Swelling ; Whooping Cough, No. 1 ; Whoo^iug Coutjh, '^' 2 ; Windy Stomach ; Worma. 

PART II. 

CaKIS, BRKAD, YilLlST, ti I. K 

Apple Snow : Baker's Ginger Bread : Best Cup Cake : B;c kfast Butter Cakes : Brown or Oyim 
pepsia Bread: Buckwheat Cakes: Butter Cakes for Tei, : ( tke without Kggs: Common Pluill 
t'alce : Composition Cake : Cream Cup Cake : Cream Cake • C *am Cake, No. '1 : Cake, Uieh smallfl 
I)y.sp«p.sia Cake : Dough Nuts : Dyspepsia Bread : GiufjQ;- J fead : Ginger Nuts : Ginger ^napH|| 
Good Family Cake : Green Corn Cake : Hard Wafers : Kcj' ake ; Icing for fakes ; luUian take^ > 
Indmn Cum Cakes ; Indian Griddle Cakes ; .lelly Cake • lu ables ; l.eiann Cake ; l.i^hl Cake i t 
be Baked in Cups; Loaf Cake ; Lemon I'ie ; Muusure '"al t ; Molasses Dough take; lluflins £ 
New York Cup Cake; Plain Indian Cakes: Plum Cake; .'ound Cake; Kich Jumbles; Koll> f 
Rye and Indian Bread ; Kice Waffles ; Seed Cakes ; iSavo Cakes ; Sugar Ginger Bread ; Syu I 
bals ; Tea Cake, No. 1 ; Yeast — to make it good ; do. Milk , do. of Cream Tartar and Saleralus. 

Pies, Preserves, Jellies, Sauce, &o. 

Apple Saune ; Arrow Root Cuslard ; Barbecries, to Preserve ; Black Currant Jelly ; Bland 
Mange ; Calf's Foot ,)elly ; Cc/nserve Roses ; Currant Jelly ; Curries : Curry Powder ; Dam^on^ 

Jam ; Kiev Jelly | 
luce. 

PCDDIXOS. 

Arrojv Root Pudding ; Boiled Indian Pudding ; Bird's Nest Pudding ; Christmas Plum Pui 
ding ; Damson Pudding ; Indian Fruit Pudding ; Orange Pudding ; lUun Pudding ; Kice Pui 
ding. Baked or Boiled ; Rich Apple Pudding ; tago Pudding ; Sauce for Pudding ; Tapioca Pudl 
ding. 

Meat, Fish, Gravies, &o. 

Boiled Beef: Beef Balls ; Beef, Cold Tenderloin ; Beef. Cold Steaks, to warm ; Beef, Minced 
Beef Steaks Broiled ; Boiled Ilam ; Boiled . "Salmon; Bread t'auce ; Broiled Cod ; Broiled' Ham 
Broiled Salmon ; Broiled Salmon, Dried ; Cabbage Soup ; Caper Sauce ; Chicken, good way t 
preiiare ; Chicken Pie ; Chicken Pot Pie ; Chicken Salad ; Chicken Soup ; Chicken Soup, Nt 
2 ; Chowder, how to make ; Codfish, salt. Stewed ; Codfish, Salt ; Cod. or other Fish, to Fry 
Codfish Cakes ; Cold Boiled Cod, to make a dish; Cold Slaw : Dried CodGsh ; Dried Cod, : 
small difh ; Dried Salmon ; Fgg Sauce ; Fried Cod ; Fresh Mackerel Soused : Fried Sausages 
Fried Shad ; Haddock ; ijobster Soup ; Mackerel, Salt ; Melted Butter ; Minced Meat ; Moc 
Turtle Soup ; Mutton Broth ; Mutton, to boil Leg of ; Mutton Chops ; Mutton, to stew shout 
der of ; Oyster Mouth Soup ; Oysters, to Fry ; Oyster Sauce ; Parsley and Butter ; Pig, ti 
Koast ; Pork Ste.ak; Roast Pork ; Sandwiches ; Sausage Meat ; Sausages ; Sweet Bread, Liver 
and Heart ; Salmon ; Salmon to Broil ; Savoy Soup ; Shad, to broil ;■ Shad : Shell Fish ; Spar 
Rib : Stewed Lobster : Stewed Oysters • Stock for Gravy Soup or soup : Turtle Soup : Tripe 
White Sauce for Boiled Fowl. 

VEGirrADLES, &f!. 

Cabbage : Coffee, how to Make : Green Peas ; Mashed Potatoes ; Onions ; Potatoes, to Boil 
Turnips. 

PART III. 

Ml.SCELLANEOrS. 

Apples, Preserved ; Blacking, to make ; Britannia Ware, to Clean ; Cucumbers, to Pickle 
Ice Cream ; Keep out Ked Ants ; Oysters, to Pickle ; Take Ink from Floors ; Washing Recipe 
celebrated 

Ladies' Toilette Tablb. 

Dress ; Evening Dresses ; Flounces ; High-necked Dresses ; Lotion for Promoting tin 
■-■--■ ■" ...-.■ ^ „....„ ^ 



H 



) Growth of the fi.air, and Preventing itiroin turning Grey ; Style of Bonnet; Short Cloal 
*> to prevent Loosening of the Hair : to Cure Ringworm. 



The way to set a copy of the LADIES' INDISPENSABLE COMPANION, 
is to send us 50 cents in postage stamps, and we will send you a coiiy by 
return of mail, postage paid, Address, 

11. DAYTON, Publisher, 
. 107 NASSAU STREET, NEW YORK. 



i 



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last date stamped under "Date Due." If not on hold it may be ] 

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SuE^ RET. 


DATE 

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